Isaiah Thomas took a risk on Thursday afternoon by declaring for the 2011 NBA Draft. Under normal circumstances, Thomas would be able to see where his draft stock lies and before deciding whether to forgo his collegiate eligibility. But Thomas has no intention of coming back to Washington and said as much in a press conference that served as a goodbye.
But why would Thomas leave after his junior season? From all accounts, Thomas is a second round pick at best, and may not even be drafted at all. Why take the risk? Seattle Times reporter Bob Condotta nailed it in a tweet on Thursday afternoon.
One other thought on Isaiah Thomas --- He'd be 23 years old by time next season ended. Maybe he just thinks it's time.
We all forget Thomas spent time at South Kent before coming to Washington. So while he may be a junior, he's well ahead of his class. Thomas will get a degree -- he says he's just two quarters shy right now -- and be able to pursue his professional dreams. Waiting another year and entering the draft at 24 may be an even bigger risk, and takes time off the peak years he can spend getting paid for his athletic ability.
Thomas' draft stock has hit its peak, and there's likely little he could have done to improve it. Coming back and playing another year, while a fun experience, would've done nothing for Thomas personally, nor would it have benefited his future endeavors. He has an education, has been to three-straight NCAA Tournaments and has done just about everything he needs to in college.
It was time for Thomas, and as odd as that timing may have seemed at first, it makes sense in the grand scheme of it all. Thomas has a long road ahead, but if watching him over the past three years has taught me anything, he'll find a way to succeed.