Marcus Smart has returned to the Celtics rotation as a reserve on a minutes restriction. But now the rest of the backcourt is nicked up, potentially paving the way for Smart's reinsertion into the starting lineup.
Isaiah Thomas has mild thumb sprain. He did not practice but is expected to play vs Pistons. Avery Bradley likely out a couple more games.— Chris Forsberg (@ESPNForsberg) January 5, 2016
The question is really whether or not the training staff is ready to take the training wheels off of Smart and let the team's future play thirty minutes tonight. There is no doubt that Smart should be a starter longterm.
When healthy, two of the Bradley/Smart/Thomas triumvirate will be in the starting lineup. In theory Isaiah is the quintessential sixth man, but his play this year has outpaced expectations. As A. Sherrod Blakely notes for CSNNE.com, he's having a season that historically only Celtics legends have been able to pull off for the green and white:
Thomas is the Celtics’ leading scorer this season with a 20.9 points per game average along with 6.8 assists.
If he maintains a scoring average of 20 or more points and six or more assists, he would become just the fourth Celtics player ever to average at least 20 points and six assists per game. The others are Larry Bird (seven times), John Havlicek (four times) and Bob Cousy (three times).
Honestly, not sure you can bring that kind of production off the bench. Even legendary sixth man Havlicek didn't record a 20 ppg/6 assist season until Tommy Heinsohn made him a starter in 1969-1970.
With Mike Gorman saying that the Celtics will eventually be Smart's team, and Thomas doing something that only Larry, Hondo, and The Couze could do... that's a pretty decent case for who should start tonight.
Let's hope Marcus is healthy enough to be out there for tip off tonight against the Pistons.
Photo Credit Getty Images
Paul Colahan 1/06/2016 12:05:00 PM Tweet Edit