Danny Ainge pulled off what appears to be a pretty nice trade for the Celtics at the deadline. In exchange for guard Marcus Thornton and a 2016 first rounder via Cleveland, the Celtics acquired point guard Isaiah Thomas from the Suns. With everyone focused on where Goran Dragic was headed, no one was really paying any attention to Thomas. Dragic eventually got dealt to the Heat, so almost surprising that the Suns felt the need to unload Thomas as well.
Here’s what you need to know about Isaiah Thomas:
1. His Height Has Always Been An Issue For Everyone Else Except Thomas– At 5’9″, Thomas has never been viewed as the prototypical guard fit to play competitively in the NBA. Thomas played college ball for the Washington Huskies (coincidentally also where Nate Robinson played) and even as a freshman star, people were talking about his height. From a Draft Express report back in 2011:
Thomas uses a lot of floaters and runners to get the job done, which is probably inevitable at his height. While Thomas’ ability to score points around the basket is one of his strengths at this level, it’s not hard to see it becoming a weakness in the pros, where the change in size and athleticism will have a strong effect on his game.
Thomas was ultimately the last player selected in the 2011 NBA Draft, drafted by the Kings, with no real expectations. Thomas has proved his critics wrong, showing that despite his height, he is a true scorer and play-maker.
2. He’s Been Compared to Nate Robinson For Ever (But He’s Better) – Even as a high school senior, Thomas drew comparisons to former Celtic Nate Robinson. They’re both the same height, they both went to the same college (Washington U) and both have that same sort of little guy swagger. They’re also boys. Check out Nate Robinson’s online reality show–‘State of Nate’ and Isaiah is often a guest. Here’s one:
I always liked Robinson, but it’s pretty clear at this point that Isaiah Thomas is a better player than Nate Robinson ever was. With his arsenal of floaters, high off the glass lay-ins, three point efficiency (close to 40%), and unstoppable crossovers, Thomas is going to win over a lot of new fans in Boston.
3. Thomas Grew Up with Celtic Guard Avery Bradley– From Isaiah’s Twitter feed, shortly after the deal went down
— Isaiah Thomas (@Isaiah_Thomas) February 21, 2015
Bradley and Thomas know each other quite well. They went to different high schools in the Tacoma, WA area (only about 5-10 minutes apart) but ended up playing on the same AAU team.
4. Thomas and Demarcus Cousins Aren’t Exactly Best Buddies-It could have been a big joke more than anything else, but when Thomas played on the Kings, it seemed as if he and Cousins weren’t exactly the best of friends. I can’t imagine it’s easy for anyone to play with Boogie Cousins, but there have been rumbling that both Sacramento’s players and upper-management were not fans of Thomas and the words ‘locker room cancer’ have come up more than a few times.
Cousins and Thomas got into a little bit of a comical back and forth on Twitter which seemed harmless enough….
— DeMarcus Cousins (@boogiecousins) August 13, 2013
Until Cousins threw a backhanded diss at Thomas, following his departure from the Kings.
DMC on PG changes: "it’s been incredible. It’s been a smooth transition. The ball is moving a lot better. It’s not stuck in one place …
— Jason Jones (@mr_jasonjones) October 1, 2014
It’s hard to say if Thomas and Cousins had a real beef with one another (I mean it’s Cousins after all) and it’s really hard to see Thomas as anything but as a spark-plug who would provide his teammates with a positive, uplifting sort of attitude.
5. Thomas Carries Around a ‘Cutthroat List’ – Three years ago in an interview with Slam Magazine, Thomas, the last pick in the 2011 Draft, mentioned that he carried around what he referred to as a “Cutthroat List”.
On it are the names of every guard taken before him in this yearʼs Draft. He says every time he plays somebody on that list he will go at them as hard as he can no matter the situation. Robinson slowly nods his head as Thomas speaks of the list and the mentality, almost as father approving his sonʼs ﬁrst ﬁght.
Now it’s uncertain whether or not Thomas is still carrying this around, but it should give you an idea into the mentality and the drive of this guy. This sounds like someone that won’t be a ‘cancer’ but a great addition to the Celtics.
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