Video: A frustrated Isaiah Thomas reacts to locker room talk questioning his shot selection
The first part of the video deals mostly with the Kevin Love controversy. The question about shot election comes at the 8:56 mark. If you're more of a reader, here's Isaiah's response:
I mean, if they’re worried about my shot selection, they must not’ve seen me play the last few years. Like, that’s all I can say about that. If somebody’s worried about that, what did you trade me here for? To not shoot? To not find my rhythm? To not be Isaiah Thomas? I can’t be anybody else. So, whoever’s saying that, I mean, I don’t know what I’m here for if I’m not here to score the ball and make plays. After being off seven months.
Not exactly a smooth transition to Cleveland for Isaiah. Many expected Thomas to not put up the same huge numbers he did in Boston, but his performance has been considerably worse than the most negative projections. Obviously it's a small sample size and he's coming off an injury, but don't be shocked if Isaiah never regains all-star status again. I mean if he makes another all-star game I wouldn't be shocked either, but I do see a pattern from players who have left Brad Stevens' friendly system.
Isaiah wouldn't be the first Celtic to have numbers worsen after leaving Stevens' system in Boston
Avery Bradley is having a worse year. Jae Crowder is having a much worse season. Isaiah looks nothing like the All-NBA player he was in Boston. Evan Turner made the leap in Boston and then fell back to earth after leaving. I mean does anyone remember Jordan Crawford? He was an end of the rotation player before coming to the Celtics. He went through a stretch in Boston where he was putting up All-Star number. Even won a player of the week honor.
Crawford's game was basically IT-lite. Both scoring point guards. Crawford has become a fringe NBA player since being traded from the Celtics. Isaiah obviously was a more accomplished NBA player than Crawford prior to coming to Boston and subsequently a better Celtic, so don't expect Isaiah to also become a fringe NBA guard. But there is definitely a possibility that his future will more closely resemble his Sacramento and Phoenix stints than his stellar Boston experience.
Never a great idea to bet against Isaiah, but even the Cavs knew the main piece in the Kyrie trade was the Nets pick. Isaiah isn't as good as Kyrie. He was just in a better situation last season. Regarding the Cavs locker room talk about Isaiah's shot selection, A) that's weak on his teammate(s)' part for anonymously saying that stuff. Isaiah is right that he's a scorer and a team would be foolish to play him in any other role.
Thomas isn't in Boston anymore. He's not going to get the love he received here. He wanted a brinks truck of cash and that talk may have led partly to his departure. It's doubtful he'll get that Brinks truck of dough from Cleveland and probably not a max from another team. But don't feel too bad for Isaiah. He is still going to get paid many a million of dollars to play a game we all love and would play for free.
Isaiah's best course of action would be to accept his new situation in Cleveland and make the most out of it he can the rest of this season. Then this summer he can choose to go to a team that will give him the keys to run their show. Let's say Charlotte for example if they trade Kemba Walker at the deadline. That route will also likely get him paid the most. The other option is to embrace being a 6th man instant offense on a contender like Jamal Crawford did with the Clippers. I think that will be a harder pill for Thomas' ego to swallow at this point. Hopefully Isaiah's picks up his game and finishes strong in the Cavs upcoming Eastern Conference Finals loss to the Celtics.