Boston Celtics point-guard Isaiah Thomas has enjoyed quite the offseason.
He got married, he was selected as the team's representative for the NBA lottery drawing, All-Star Al Horford became his teammate, he was ranked the 9th best point guard in the league by Sean Deveney of the Sporting News and he jumped 43 spots, from No.88 to No.45, on the 2016-2017 Sports Illustrated's Top 100 players list. Well, actually, about that last one:
45? SI rankings are a JOKE!!— Isaiah Thomas (@Isaiah_Thomas) September 16, 2016
Now, Thomas can add another notch to his accomplishment belt: The "little guy" landed at No. 25 on Slam Magazine's Top 50 Players list, a ranking he will likely be happier with (but we will see). SLAM writers Tessa Yesselman and Sam Rubenstein said of Thomas:
It’s hard to quantify statistically exactly how many wins are owed to a specific player, but that is what “win shares” attempts to encapsulate. Thomas finished his first full season with the Celtics at 9.7 win shares, good for 16th in the NBA. The 2015-16 season also saw IT4 earn his first All-Star nod. Thomas played in all 82 games and averaged 22.2 points, 6.2 assists, and 1.1 steals in 32.2 minutes per game. Only four other players in the NBA averaged more than 22 points, 6 assists and a steal per game, and I guess you could say Thomas was keeping elite company: LeBron James, Russell Westbrook, James Harden and Stephen Curry were the other members of the club. Over the course of a season and a half, Thomas has become the face of the most decorated franchise in NBA history. Many people said that the Celtics started the 2015-16 season “star challenged,” and IT made it impossible to qualify them as such as the season went on. With Thomas at the helm, the narrative shifted from “star challenged,” to “overachieving.”
It's fair to say that, besides Jae Crowder, Isaiah Thomas has become the face of the Boston Celtics. He has emerged as a vocal leader with relentless work ethic, always looking for new ways to evolve his game:
Isaiah Thomas just showed off his one-foot, Steve Nash-esque jumper for the first time. Drained it.— Marc D'Amico (@Marc_DAmico) September 29, 2015
Thomas has definitely made strides from being the last pick of the 2011 NBA draft. Once seen as a diminutive point guard that should be cemented in the sixth-man role, Thomas has developed his offensive repertoire and is even capable of playing a little defense every now and then.
After receiving votes for the 2015-2016 Most Improved Player award and making big jumps on best players lists compiled by SLAM and Sports Illustrated, it's worth keeping an eye on Thomas' development during the upcoming season as he tries to cement himself as a top-three point guard, or, better yet, a top-ten player.
Photo Credit: Nick Wass
Follow Luis on Twitter @luisdgnyc Luis Gonzalez 10/06/2016 02:50:00 PM Tweet Edit