Carsen Edwards to wear Isaiah Thomas' former number four jersey
Back in June, the Boston Celtics drafted 6'1" point guard Carsen Edwards with the thirty-third overall pick. Now a few months later, reports have come out that Edwards has chosen his official jersey number going into his rookie year with the Boston Celtics (and it's a very notable one).
Carsen Edwards shooting free throws in the NBA Summer League. Phot via Maddie Meyer
During the conference, the rookies posed for a picture with what was believed to be their uniforms heading into next season. Edwards, standing to the right of his peers, held up a #29 jersey. However, it appears he's had a change of heart and has gone for a number more familiar to die-hard Celtics fans. Next season, the 21-year-old will be wearing the jersey of former Celtics' all-star point guard Isaiah Thomas.
Isaiah Thomas guarded by Kevin Durant as a member of the Boston Celtics. Photo via Michael Dwyer
Dubbed "the little guy" by Celtics legend and NBC Sports Boston commentator Tommy Heinsohn, Thomas had a career year in 2017 averaging 28.9 points, 5.9 assists, and 2.7 rebounds while shooting 46.3% from the field. That offseason, Thomas was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers in a package deal for Kyrie Irving and the #4 jersey had gone untouched, until now.
Carsen Edwards threw himself in the conversation as perhaps the biggest steal in the draft with his play in the NBA Summer League. In five games, he averaged 19.6 points and shot 48%. Just watching him play, you could easily notice his energy, determination and shooting abilities. One person who certainly noticed was Celtics' Head Coach Brad Stevens, who had this to say about the three-point shooter:
#Celtics head coach Brad Stevens on Carsen Edwards:
"Everything he does on the court is violent...We're excited about him and his play and he's another guy who played for a great, great college program — great coach in Matt Painter."#Purduepic.twitter.com/syozYXFAmn
Separately, Stevens went on to talk about how Edwards' scoring ability can allow him to come in and make an impact off the bench on both sides of the court almost immediately.
Brad Stevens also said #Celtics rookie Carsen Edwards has a chance to "impact our team early because he can make tough shots." Stevens also likes his shot selection and his ability to pick up full-court defensively.
Although I don't think anyone could have expected what he ended up doing, Celtics' General Manager Danny Ainge traded for Isaiah Thomas to provide a very similar role for the rebuilding team. Thomas was expected to use his minutes wisely and contribute with his dynamic and unique scoring ability, which he very much succeeded in. Edwards, who had watched him play for the Celtics just a few years back, said this about Thomas earlier in the summer:
To me, I can't think of a more appropriate player at the moment to come and fill in the #4 jersey. As a guy of his size, you don't make it into the NBA without an extreme amount of heart, dedication and hard work, all things Isaiah proved he had during his time as a Celtic.
While no player could ever replace Isaiah Thomas and what he meant to Celtics fans, Edwards' potential could prove that he is a worthy successor of the number and the role as a pure scorer coming off the bench. With a four-year contract in place, let's hope Carsen Edwards can find not only a comfortable role on the team but a welcoming home in the city of Boston.
Do think Edwards will be dubbed "the little guy" by Heinsohn in the future??? Or is that title reserved for the one and only Isaiah Thomas? Let me know in the comments below.