Isaiah Thomas Ready to Prove Himself (Again)

By: Ravneet Singh

Former teammates traded for each other. Isaiah Thomas and Marcus Thornton are now on their third team in two years each. Both players have something to prove.

Phoenix Suns

Received: Marcus Thornton & 2016 1st Round Draft Pick (protected from CLE)

Isaiah Thomas hasn’t been the only former King to have to move to multiple homes after leaving Sacramento. Marcus Thornton has moved from Sacramento to Brooklyn last year to Boston this year and finally to Phoenix.

Ever since his last year in Sacramento his numbers have gone dramatically down from his early years with the Kings. Back in 2011 he led the team in points with 21.3, per Basketball-Reference.com. His best days are likely over. That being said he can be productive with the Suns.

The Suns are fifth in the league in three point attempts, and Thornton is a three point specialist. With Thomas and Dragic gone the Suns could use Thornton’s scoring to try to fight for that 8th seed. Of course Brandon Knight will also use up the minutes that Thomas and Dragic played, so there’s a chance Thornton doesn’t improve much.

If he doesn’t play well Phoenix just won’t sign him after his year, since this is his last year on his contract. The Suns will also get Cleveland’s pick from this year. It is a top ten protected pick, per RealGM.com, but the Cavaliers will make the playoffs this year baring any injuries. Thus, the pick will likely go to the Suns this year as a late first rounder.

Thomas probably wanted more minutes and he wasn’t going to get them with the Suns. The Suns get a first round pick and an expiring contract. Not bad for what seemed like a weird signing in the first place.

Grade: C+

Boston Celtics

Received: Isaiah Thomas

If there is one guy who has to prove himself again and again it’s Isaiah Thomas. This dude has heart and sheer passion for the game. He gets another chance to be the starter as a Celtic. It’s no secret that the Celtics wanted Thomas. Last year there were plenty of rumors flying around about a Rondo-Thomas trade. They still got the man they wanted without giving up too much.

In his first game against the Lakers he played extremely well, scoring 21 points, dishing out 3 assists, and grabbing 5 boards off the bench. He also got ejected, from what seemed to be a questionable call to say the least. Here’s a video of it all:

The Celtics have an interesting young core of players now. These bring up larger questions though, such as:

1.       Do the Celtics consider Marcus Smart the future PG of the team?

2.       Will James Young get a chance to develop with a crowded roster full of guards?

3.       Do they view Thomas as the long term starter?

It’s tough to answer these questions now. It seems like the Celtics are just trying to acquire as much talent as possible. They definitely did that with this trade.

The biggest issue with the trade is that Marcus Smart will get less minutes. He definitely has improved as the season has progressed. Although his field goal percentage has gotten worse, he is scoring more points and getting more assists as each month passes.

Marcus Smart's numbers each month, per NBA.com

With Isaiah coming into town this will likely not continue. Smart will have to learn on how to play without the ball, because Thomas holds the ball for long periods of time occasionally. Smart’s shooting percentage, especially from three, is scary bad, so he hasn’t been very effective working as the off guard.

Regardless, hopefully Smart learns a thing or two from Thomas and he improves in the next few months. Heck, if Thomas can show him a couple tips on how to improve Smart’s shooting form, then it could do wonders for his game. Thankfully for Celtics fans (and Isaiah Thomas fans like myself), they will get a chance to see a young exciting point guard that deserves to start in this league.

Grade: A-