No Debate: Isaiah Thomas is an All-Star
BOSTON – This wasn’t even a debate.
Isaiah Thomas is officially an NBA All-Star.
The NBA announced during tonight’s special on TNT that Thomas will be heading to Toronto. He's joined by Jimmy Butler, DeMar DeRozan, Paul Millsap, Andre Drummond, Chris Bosh and John Wall as the seven reserves chosen to the Eastern Conference All-Star team.
All-Star reserves were chosen by the league’s 30 head coaches. That’s why it should come as no surprise that Thomas has been named to the team.
After all, these are the coaches whom Thomas has mystified all season long.
Each and every opposing coach constructs a game plan against the Boston Celtics. Atop those game plans, undoubtedly, stands Thomas’ name, likely in bold letters.
Stopping Thomas is each opponent’s top priority, yet rarely has a team succeeded in achieving that goal.
Thomas has been a full-time starter since Nov. 4 and has scored 16 or more points during all but four of his 44 games since. He is averaging a career-high 21.6 points per game this season, which leads all Eastern Conference point guards and ranks seventh among all guards in the NBA.
Who accompanies Thomas at the top of that list? The likes of reigning MVP Stephen Curry, MVP runner-up James Harden, Damian Lillard, Russell Westbrook, DeMar DeRozan and Jimmy Butler.
Who’s looking up at Thomas on that list? Klay Thompson, Kyle Lowry, John Wall, Dwyane Wade and Chris Paul, all of whom are All-Stars this season, and four of whom have been chosen as an All-Star starter during their careers.
Simply put, Thomas has etched his name into the elite category of scorers in this league. That is a fact.
Another fact is that scoring is no longer the lone weapon in Thomas’ arsenal. He has grown as a distributor, using his vision and passing ability to create shots for his teammates.
Thomas ranks third in the NBA in drives per game, with an average of 11.3 a night. His ability to get into the paint puts an incredible amount of pressure on defenses. He draws off-ball defenders in, then finds his teammates for open shots.
Those ingredients have led to Thomas dishing out a career-best 6.6 assists per game this season. He ranks ninth in the league in that category, and second among Eastern Conference guards who have played at least 33 games.
Thomas would likely be an All-Star this season solely based upon his impressive statistics and rankings. Take into account his impact in the win-loss column, and he became a no-brainer.
Thomas is the engine that makes the Boston Celtics go. And as a reminder, those Boston Celtics are only one game back of the third seed in the Eastern Conference.
You’d have been called a lunatic had you predicted a year ago that the Celtics would be in this position without signing a major free-agent or trading for an All-Star.
Thomas, acquired for pennies on the dollar, is that free agent. He is that All-Star.
Boston has gone 46-31 since he arrived in its lineup on Feb. 22, 2015. It had gone 55-89 over the previous season and a half without him.
That’s making an impact, and that’s why this wasn’t even a debate.
Isaiah Thomas is an All-Star.