Isaiah Thomas has always been one of my favorite players. Let me preface that by saying I have always been a fan of the little guys. So being one of the little guys, Isaiah Thomas has always been a diamond in the rough in my mind. He was a different type of little guy. He was a short guy that didn't mind, maybe even preferred, driving into and banging with the big guys in the paint. He has had an incredible NBA journey and the train has not stopped yet. Isaiah Thomas is making sure people remember his game.
I followed Thomas in college, at the University of Washington. He was a great player. However heading into the 2011 NBA Draft, there were plenty of questions about him. First and most obvious was his height, could he really hang with the best of the best? Next was the fact that he was a shot-first point guard. With the combination of those two things, many believed there would be no spot for Thomas in the draft, nor in the NBA.
However in 2011, the Sacramento Kings took a flyer. With the 60th (last) pick overall, Isaiah Thomas' name was called. His NBA journey was set to begin.
Coming off a 20.3 points per game season in 2014, Thomas signed a contract with the Pheonix Suns in the offseason. Phoenix was not a good fit for the little guy. So during the 2014-15 season, the Phoenix Suns traded Isaiah Thomas to the Boston Celtics. The Kings allowed his NBA journey to begin, but the Boston Celtics, in my opinion, opened the door to the start of his true career.
Being a fan of the Boston Celtics, you can imagine my excitement when finding out one of my favorite players is joining my home team. I told as many people as I could that this would be a great fit. Some agreed. Some disagreed. Regardless, I knew what a great fit and impact this would have on both Isaiah and Boston.
I still remember his first bucket in green. The C's were taking on the Lakers in LA. Thomas came up with the steal around half court and glided the other way towards the rim and finished with a perfect finger roll. Beautiful.
In his first (half)season with Boston, Thomas averaged just under 20 points per game. However, the shot-first point guard was also dishing it out for about 6 assists per game.
In the following season Isaiah Thomas reached a new level. He averaged 22 points and 7 assists per game throughout the entirety of the season. Thomas was selected to the All-Star team. So far so good in Boston.
Now, lets go live to this 2016-17 NBA season...
As of Tuesday, November 8th 2016, Isaiah Thomas has cracked the top 30 in ESPN's player rankings. Thomas finished last season ranked 65th on the list. Now he is sitting at 29th.
This is incredible. Thomas has never really been "validated" by anyone. Just like his All-Star season, people believed it was a fluke and there would be no chance of replicating it. Well, half of that is correct at least. It was certainly not a fluke. However, he is not replicating his 2015-16 season, he is exceeding it.
Thomas is obviously doing everything right, but he is not done yet. Like I said, I have been watching this guy play for a while. He still has plenty more to offer to both the Celtics, NBA, and the Boston community.
Do not sleep on Isaiah Thomas, and certainly DO NOT PICK HIM LAST.