March 31, 2016, Portland - Isaiah Thomas (4) drives to the hoop. The Portland Trail Blazers hosted the Boston Celtics at the Moda Center on March 31, 2016. (David Blair/Zuma Press/Icon Sportswire)
March 31, 2016, Portland - Isaiah Thomas (4) drives to the hoop. The Portland Trail Blazers hosted the Boston Celtics at the Moda Center on March 31, 2016. (David Blair/Zuma Press/Icon Sportswire)

After an interview with Sports Illustrated’s Andy Gray, Isaiah Thomas might be the NBA’s most confident player.

At just 5’9, Thomas is one of the league’s smallest players, but his self-belief exceeds many of the league’s other players. Gray asked Thomas is there are any defenders in the league that he fears and Thomas replied with a very short and sweet answer, “No, because nobody can guard me so it doesn’t really matter.”

I love it.

To succeed in a tall man’s game as a short player, your offensive arsenal must be crafty and versatile, two aspects that Thomas’ game relies heavily on. Last year, Thomas earned his first All-Star selection and finished the season averaging 22.2 points on 43 percent shooting, including 36 percent from downtown.

He’s been very successful without much of a mid-range game, and his ability to finish around the basket is what makes him such a threat. According to Basketball-Reference, 34 percent of Thomas’ shot attempts came inside the restricted area, and he converted on 58 percent of those chances. A variety of Eurosteps and acrobatic layups allow him to avoid taller, longer defenders, and the driving lanes open up because players need to guard him at the three-point line.

With a low center of gravity and blinding quickness, getting to the basket is seldom a problem for Thomas, despite going up against guys who are usually four or five (or more) inches taller than him. Thomas also has a strong, sturdy frame that’s great for absorbing contact–contact that he receives a lot of when going to the hole. He gets rewarded more times than not, however, and was fourth in the league with 474 made free throws.

If he continues at this rate, Thomas would be a place where he could be called the best sub-six-foot player ever.

Stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference

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