Kings' Thomas gladly changes his plans

Published: Saturday, Feb. 9, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1C
Last Modified: Sunday, Feb. 10, 2013 - 2:06 pm

Unlike some of his peers, Isaiah Thomas had no intention of attending NBA All-Star Weekend if he was not a part of the on-court festivities.

Thomas gladly altered his All-Star break plans when he learned Thursday he had been added to the Rising Stars Challenge next Friday in Houston with some of the league's best first- and second-year players.

"Definitely wasn't going down there," Thomas said. "I probably would have never gone to All-Star Weekend if I wasn't a part of it."

The second-year guard is the Kings' lone representative at All-Star Weekend.

Perhaps the only King happier than Thomas was center DeMarcus Cousins, who publicly voiced his displeasure last week when it was announced Thomas wasn't a part of the initial pool of players for the game.

Thomas was added by Rising Stars "commissioner" Kenny Smith.

"You know, I did little things behind the scenes to make sure my guy got in the game," Cousins joked after Friday's practice.

Thomas said Cousins sent him a text message to congratulate him Thursday.

"That's like my right-hand guy," Thomas said. "He's a guy that supports me just as much as I support him, and he's happy for me. He was very upset when I didn't make it. But it is what is, it happened, and I'm blessed to be able to go to All-Star Weekend."

Thomas is averaging 11.6 points, third on the Kings and eighth among second-year players. In 30 starts this season, his scoring is at 12.7 points per game.

"Isaiah's one of those players that will never take no for an answer," Cousins said. "He's going to continue to work, and everything he gets, he deserves."

Thomas was the last player selected in the 2011 NBA draft, 60th overall out of Washington, but he eventually won a starting job as a rookie.

One reason Thomas fell in the draft was his height. He's listed at 5-foot-9.

Thomas began this season as a starter before losing the job to Aaron Brooks and then reclaiming it.

Thomas said he was at home when he found out he had been added to the Rising Stars Challenge.

Kings coach Keith Smart said the team had an "inkling" Thomas might be added to the roster before receiving the news Thursday evening.

"For him to keep climbing the obstacle wall that he's going to have to keep climbing his whole career while he's in the NBA, it's a good little stop for him to be around (the stars)," Smart said.

Thomas expects to be busy next weekend. He said his parents, who live in Tacoma, Wash., plan to attend, too.

And for the Kings, Thomas' presence gives those around the league something to talk about on the court.

Most of the talk about the Kings will be centered on the team's impending sale and possible relocation to Seattle.

Smart said Thomas is a reminder that no matter the surrounding situation, doing your job can pay off.

"It's letting people know regardless of the circumstances, someone is still monitoring what you do," Smart said.

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