On February 19th, 2015, Isaiah Thomas of the Phoenix Suns was traded to the Boston Celtics for Shooting Guard Marcus Thornton and a First round pick in the 2016 NBA draft. At the time, Celtics fan including myself were confused, but not so much disappointed by the trade. This was nearly just a couple of months after Celtics star point guard Rajon Rondo, who had been on the team since 2006, was traded away to the Dallas Mavericks.
After this trade, it seemed as though that the recently drafted PG Marcus Smart, out of Oklahoma State was being given the keys to the Celtics offense. Well apparently that was not the plan for Danny Ainge. After seeing Smart run the team for a couple months, the notorious GM traded for another point guard. This guard in Isaiah Thomas, aka IT4, was pretty much everything Marcus Smart was and is not. Isaiah could score in bursts, was undersized, and was definitely not known for his defense, unlike the grizzly Smart.
In Isaiah’s first game as a Celtic, he played and came off the bench as seemingly a 6th man. In his first game against the long time rivaled Lakers, Isaiah Thomas scored a good chunk of points and later was ejected. This was where the beginning of the city of Boston’s love started for the “Little Guy”.
After that game and later on in the season, Isaiah started to flourish in Boston. He narrowly lost the 6th man of the year race and was starting to become known around the city and league. He even managed to bring a mediocre Celtics team with a starting front court of freaking Jared Sullener and Tyler Zeller, that was in the second year of a rebuild, to the playoffs as the 8th seed at a record of 40-42. Although, the Celtics were swept in four games against the Loser Lebron Cavaliers, something had changed in the Celtics. There was fight in the team. There was hope for a future.
Fast forward to the next season and IT4 was able to earn a starting spot on the Celtics and his first All-Star selection as a reserve guard in the Eastern Conference. The Celtics had improved by 8 games during the season and finished with a record of 48-34. With a key loss to a great guard and defender in Avery Bradley the Celtics were unable to beat the Atlanta Hawks in the first round of the playoffs 4 to 2. That offseason, the Celtics did beat the Hawks though.
That summer, All-Star PF/C Al Horford formerly of the Atlanta Hawks, signed a max contract with the Boston Celtics. This large in part was due to Horford desire to play with a winning atmosphere brought to in part by the big (little) piece, Isaiah Thomas. The Celtics with Horford had a new and improved offensive and defensive system and were able to earn the 1st seed in the East and make it to the conference finals.
Enter summer 2017. Gordon Hayward has signed with the Boston Celtics. Another All Star alongside Isaiah Thomas. The Celtics now have their so called “Big 3” needed in the NBA to succeed predominantly.
With no Isaiah Thomas, there is no playoffs in 2015. With no playoffs in 2015 there is not much to build off for the next year. With not much to build off of and improve for the next year, there is no Al Horford signing the following summer. With no Al Horford, there is most likely no Gordon Hayward. And with no Gordon Hayward, there is no “contender” in the Celtics.
So when talking about Isaiah Thomas, put some respect on his name. He is a major part of Boston’s success and is a born leader of men. Yeah he might not be a great defender, but what point guards are? With all the rumors flying around about Kyrie Irving wanting out of Cleveland, do you really want a guy like him over IT4? A guy that averaged 3 points less last year all while playing with an excellent passing player by the name of LeBron James. A guy that wants out of Ohio because he is so centered around being the face of a team? A guy that cares more about his image than winning? No thanks. I’ll take the guy who has heart, grit, and passion for the game, his team, and his city. The guy who is about the same player if not better than Kyrie Irving. Long live the Little Guy.