Los Angeles Lakers point guard Isaiah Thomas has struggled quite a bit on shots close to the basket since he was traded to his new team.
Ben Falk noticed this trend in a recent report about the recovering guard (via Cleaning The Glass):
“Thomas took almost 40% of his shots at the basket and another 10-20% in short midrange [for the Celtics]. His ability to convert around the cup despite his diminutive stature is what set him apart from other similarly-sized guards who haven’t been able to succeed at a high-level in the NBA. But so far this season Thomas has not gotten to the rim as much and, more importantly, has not been able to finish there.”
Falk explained that this is likely “the place that his injury (and recovery) will be most apparent” due to his hip troubles.
Since his trade from the Cleveland Cavaliers, 28 percent of the shots he has taken have been near the rim. Among those with as many attempts from less than five feet of the rim since Thomas joined Los Angeles, there is only one player who has a lower field goal percentage.
While with the Lakers, he has been 21-for-43 (48.8 percent) with 0.98 points per possessions on shot attempts around the basket that were not post-ups. He was 18-of-44 (40.9 percent) with 0.86 points per possession when he was on the Cavaliers.
There are currently 219 players who have had as many total opportunities so far this season. Only four players have been less efficient than Thomas on these attempts, per Synergy Sports.
The point guard is now shooting 3-for-11 (27.3 percent) when dribbling off the pick as the ballhandler in a pick-and-roll offense for Los Angeles. Utah wing Alec Burks is the only player with as many opportunities whose field goal percentage has been less accurate.
Even though this is a smaller sample size, he is also 2-for-7 (28.6 percent) when taking it to the basket on spot-up attempts. Falk suggests that Thomas could regain some of his athleticism as he recovers but if not, this is a serious problem for the point guard as he faces upcoming free agency.