Lakers

Isaiah Thomas ready to get down to business of getting to know the Lakers

Isaiah Thomas couldn’t say how long it might take to mesh with his new Lakers teammates. He wouldn’t guess how many practices or games or late-night chartered flights it might take before he’s comfortable with them and they’re at ease with him.

After all, they had only been together for one shootaround and one game, roughly 24 hours total, when he was asked to evaluate his play and theirs after a loss Saturday to the Mavericks in Dallas. He gave himself mixed reviews, but his analysis of his team teammates was positive.

In time, the match between the All-Star point guard and his young, athletic and eager teammates could be a winner. How much time they have together is anyone’s guess, though. Thomas is eligible to become a free agent at season’s end, and his stay with the Lakers could be a short one.

“I just wanted to come in with energy,” Thomas said after scoring 22 points in his Lakers debut. “I just wanted to bring something to the table. I just wanted to bring that energy, bring that intensity and make plays. The ball happened to go in. All these guys are talented. I watched this team from afar.”

What he saw from the Lakers before they acquired him, Channing Frye and a draft pick Thursday from the Cleveland Cavaliers was pretty much what he witnessed when he came off the bench to spark them with 13 points in his opening minutes Saturday.

Thomas used his speed and ballhandling skills to elude defenders. He sank open shots from near and far. He connected with his teammates, setting them up for open shots from near and far, too. The wide-open nature of Saturday’s game, a 130-123 loss, showcased Thomas’ talents.

“It was very exciting to be on the court with him,” Lakers center Brook Lopez said. “I played a long time against him, obviously. He was in Boston, I was in Brooklyn, so we were in the same division. I got to see him play a lot. He’s such a spectacular talent. To be on the floor with him, it was impressive to see. He makes so many things so easy for so many of his teammates.”

Next assignment: Thomas goes to school. He must learn the Lakers’ plays and his teammates’ tendencies. He got a crash course before the Lakers faced the Mavericks, as Coach Luke Walton did what he could to simplify matters in the short time they had to prepare.

“That will come,” Thomas said of upcoming tutorials. “They tried a little bit in shootaround. They put plays on my iPad. So, all (Friday) night, I was trying to study the playbook and try to figure out what they do offensively and defensively.

“I think I had one key turnover. I might have jumped in the air and I don’t know where guys were. That’s just getting familiar with each other, practicing more. But at the same time, it’s tough just putting a new guy out there. I don’t really know any plays.

“We’ll learn from this and build on it and we’ll be better.”

Frye expected it to be a smooth transition after a rocky 15 games with the Cavaliers.

“He’s going to be fine,” Frye said. “There’s nothing wrong with him. You’re going to see. He’s going to ball. How many games do we have left, 26, 27? You’re going to see Isaiah become the old Isaiah, especially with the faster pace. I think this is going to be a better system for him.

“He’s going to be fine.”

Sunday was a day of rest. The Lakers get back to work Monday at their El Segundo practice facility.

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