After a delayed start to his inaugural campaign with the Nuggets, guard Isaiah Thomas might be set for an early finish. Reports out of Denver confirm that coach Michael Malone intends to shorten his rotation for the stretch run, and Thomas didn’t play in Tuesday’s 133-107 victory against the Timberwolves.
“Definitely talked to him,” Malone told reporters after the game. “I’ll keep that conversation between I.T. and myself,” Malone said. “Not an easy conversation, but that’s my job. … Isaiah is a pro and was into the game, supporting his teammates.”
Per Sean Keeler of the Denver Post, Malone — who previously coached Thomas when both were in Sacramento — indicated it had more to do with a holistic approach than any sleight on individual performance.
“It’s never about Isaiah. It’s never about any individual,” Malone explained. “It’s about what I think is best for our team. And I made the decision to shorten the rotation, only played eight guys in the first quarter. And I’m going to continue to do that for the time being.”
Thomas, third in the league with 28.9 points per game just two seasons ago, averaged only 8.6 points (37.3 FG%), 1.3 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 15.5 minutes in the nine games prior to Tuesday’s win.