Isaiah Thomas felt he “got his powers back” after a strong performance as the Los Angeles Lakers suffered defeat in his debut against the Dallas Mavericks.
Thomas was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers in August in the deal that sent Kyrie Irving to the Boston Celtics, but played only 15 games after spending much of his time with Cleveland recovering from a hip issue.
He averaged just 14.7 points and 4.5 assists per game for the Cavs, never looking like the player who was an MVP candidate with the Celtics, before being sent to the Lakers as Cleveland completely remodeled their team with a series of stunning moves at the trade deadline.
The Lakers were beaten 130-123 by the Mavericks on Saturday, but Thomas was left feeling optimistic after finishing with 22 points and six assists.
“I wanted to bring something to the table,” Thomas said. “I felt like I got my powers back playing on this team.
“This is the best they have been playing. I don’t want to mess anything up. And I told [coach Luke Walton] that. Whatever he needs me to do, I am willing to do that.
“I would love to be a starter. I feel like I deserve that and earned that, but at the same time, it’s a new chapter for me. I am here to help this team, help these young guys, continue to be professional, continue to work hard and continue to gel together.”
“He brings another dimension to what we have,” Walton said of Thomas’ display. “When he is able to control pick-and-rolls and get people shots, obviously we couldn’t run a ton of stuff because he has been with us for one day, but he was good.”