Two years ago, I wrote about Isaiah Thomas. Not the Detroit Pistons superstar of yesteryear, but the 5-9 point guard who was beginning to light up the NBA. Referring to “Linsanity” (the brief wave of enthusiasm for Jeremy Lin), I suggested that if Thomas played in New York (as Lin did), he would be a candidate for Isaianity, given his production, his height, and the fact that he was the last player taken in the 2011 NBA draft.
These days, Thomas is no longer a sensation that should have happened. He’s now an NBA All Star.
Playing for the Boston Celtics, Thomas averages 21.5 points (12th in the league) and 6.6 assists (9th in the league) per game. His shooting percentage — 42 percent — isn’t brilliant. However, one-third of his shots from the field are three-pointers, which he converts at a rate of 35 percent. In addition, he shoots 6.3 free throws a game and makes 90 percent of them.
The other two pure point guards on the East all-star team are Kyle Lowry and John Wall. Thomas’ scoring and shooting stats are comparable to those of Lowry and Wall.
Wall (but not Lowry) outstrips Thomas when it comes to assists. However, Thomas has the best assist-to-turnover ratio of the three.
The comparison to Wall seems particularly noteworthy because Wall was the very first player taken in his draft year (2010). Thomas, as mentioned above, was the last pick the following year.
I should also point out that Thomas isn’t just compiling impressive stats for a bad team. The Boston Celtics, under their brilliant coach Brad Stevens (the guy who led Butler to two second places in the NCAA tournament) are 32-23, good for third place in the Eastern Conference. Thomas leads the team in scoring, assists, and free throws made (more than double the number of anyone else on the team).
Watch for him in the playoffs (I don’t assume readers will watch the unwatchable All Star game). Maybe you’ll experience Isaianity.