Boston Celtics' President of Basketball Operations, Danny Ainge, is one of the most candid GM's out all of four professional sports teams in Boston. Where Bill Belichick won't tell you what he had for dinner, Ainge is open to discussing what he wants from the current group of C's, as well as many other issues facing the future of the franchise.
It was no different yesterday when Ainge, in his press conference, discussed numerous topics that concern his team (could you imagine Belichick answering the Rajon Rondo question Ainge was asked?), one being the role of Isaiah Thomas:
Ainge: "I think Isaiah is more suited for a bench role. ... Isaiah expends a ton of energy to score."— Jay King (@ByJayKing) April 30, 2015
Ainge said Celtics feel like they're maximizing Thomas's strengths by playing him around 30 minutes, not more.— Bill Doyle (@BillDoyle15) April 30, 2015
I agree with the first part of Ainge's comments, but the second half is up for debate. Thomas is your ideal sixth-man, an energetic guard who can score in bunches. Bench scoring in the NBA is a great luxury to have, and Thomas could take the long-needed torch of Celtics', in that role started by John Havlicek and passed to Kevin McHale and most recently given to a reluctant Ray Allen.
Thomas' 6.2 PPG in the fourth quarter is crucial to the success of any team, especially the Celts who have lacked a typical "closer" since Paul Pierce left town.
Thomas has mentioned in the past that he wants to start, but what is the big deal if he is on the court at the end of games where he is needed most?
But as far as Ainge's comments regarding Thomas' minutes, I believe that the pint-sized sharpshooter could easily play 34-38 minutes a game without sacrificing his production.
Now whether that would hamper Marcus Smart's development, or cut into Avery Bradley's time on the floor is one thing, but if Thomas is your best scorer he needs to be on the court more than those two.
While a member of the Sacramento Kings in the 2013-2014 season, Thomas averaged a career-high 34.7 minutes per game, scoring 20.3 points, another career-high. Granted he was playing for a bad team, but he still put up those stats with a selfless amount of attempts, only averaging 15.2 field goals per.
It would be one thing if he was chucking up 20 plus shots but putting up those numbers on that many tries shows how effective he can be as an unselfish teammate.
As a sixth-man, under Brad Stevens' offense, Thomas could still play those types of minutes off the bench and become one of the most important pieces, moving forward on the Celts speedy rebuild.
Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images
Follow CelticWelch on Twitter @CelticWelch Rob Welch 5/01/2015 01:08:00 PM Tweet Edit