Sometimes a change of scenery is all an NBA player needs to thrive.
Just ask Isaiah Thomas, Seth Curry or Hassan Whiteside.
Behind Thomas, the Boston Celtics are trying to challenge the Cleveland Cavaliers for the top spot in the Eastern Conference. Curry’s Dallas Mavericks are trending in the right direction following a slow start to the season. Whiteside and the Miami Heat are only a half-game out of a playoff spot.
Here’s a look at how these former Kings are shining with other clubs:
ISAIAH THOMAS, BOSTON CELTICS
As a King: The point guard who plays more like a 2 averaged 15.3 points and 5.2 assists in three seasons. He played in 216 games for Sacramento, including 153 starts, and scored 20.3 points per game in 2013-14, his last season with the team.
How he left the Kings: Thomas was traded to Phoenix for Alex Oriakhi and a trade exception in the 2014 offseason. Oriakhi has never played in the NBA.
Of note: Thomas spent a half-season with the Suns before being dealt to Boston in a three-team deal. In both of his full seasons with the Celtics, Thomas was named an All-Star and, entering Thursday, is second in the NBA in scoring at 29.4 points per game, trailing just Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook (32.1). The Celtics are second in the Eastern Conference at 41-24, just 2 1/2 games behind the Cavaliers (42-20).
SETH CURRY, DALLAS MAVERICKS
As a King: The point guard averaged just 6.8 points in 44 games with Sacramento, including nine starts. He closed last season scoring at least 10 points in 10 of his last 11 games and tallied a career-high 21 points twice in that span.
How he left the Kings: The free agent signed a two-year deal with Dallas in July.
Of note: Since being re-inserted into the starting lineup, the Mavericks have gone 16-9 and are only 1 1/2 games behind Denver for the last playoff spot in the Western Conference. For the season, Curry is averaging 12.9 points and shoots 48.7 percent from the field, including 43.5 percent from 3-point range.
HASSAN WHITESIDE, MIAMI HEAT
As a King: Over two seasons, Whiteside played in just 19 games and averaged 1.5 points, 2.1 rebounds and 0.8 blocks.
How he left the Kings: After multiple stints with the Reno Bighorns, the Kings’ D-League affiliate, Whiteside was waived in July 2012. He didn’t return to the NBA until the 2014-15 season with Miami.
Of note: With the Heat, Whiteside has become a force on defense. He averages 12.1 rebounds and 2.9 blocks per night, including a league-high 3.7 rejections in 2015-16. This season, he leads the NBA with 14.1 rebounds a game.