Jason Kidd ‘Hopeful’ that Thomas Makes All-NBA
BOSTON – Isaiah Thomas is making a push for the first All-NBA nod of his career, and Friday morning, he earned the backing of one of the greatest point guards in league history.
Milwaukee coach Jason Kidd, who made six All-NBA teams during his 19-year playing career, was asked following Bucks shootaround whether or not he believes Thomas deserves such an elite recognition this season.
The future Hall-of-Famer answered without hesitation.
“For sure,” said Kidd, whose Bucks will take on Thomas and the C’s Friday evening. “He’s having a heck of a year and hopefully he makes one of those teams.”
A heck of a year, indeed.
Thomas is averaging career highs of 22.4 points, 6.3 assists and 3.0 rebounds per game this season. Since the start of March, he has been the top scorer in the Eastern Conference, having averaged 26.0 PPG.
On top of that, Thomas is the only player in the league that is averaging at least 22.0 PPG and 6.0 APG, while turning the ball over fewer than three times per contest. He also needs just 10 more assists to become the third player in franchise history to tally at least 1,600 points and 500 assists in a season, joining Celtics Legends Larry Bird and John Havlicek.
Oh, and Thomas has accomplished all of this despite the fact that at 5-foot-9, he is the shortest active player in the league.
While many would see his height – or lack thereof – as an obstacle, he has played with a chip on his shoulder to prove that height is just a number. IT’s attitude in that regard is one of the major reasons why Kidd has become a fan of his.
“Isaiah is showing that he can play at a very high level no matter how tall someone is,” said Kidd, who ranks second all-time in both assists and steals. “It’s not so much how tall you are, but how big your heart is. And you look at his IQ; he understands how to play the game at a very high level.”
Kidd is on a similar page as Brad Stevens on the matter. Boston’s coach was dealt the same question before taking on New Orleans Wednesday night, and stated his belief that a player’s influence on a team’s success should go a long way when it comes to All-League voting.
Thomas certainly fits the bill, having guided the C’s to a playoff berth behind his consistent, high-volume scoring and playmaking ability.
“As you look at the All-NBA, you’re looking for 15 guys that most impact a team’s success,” said Stevens. “It’s hard to argue (against) him.”
It’s undeniable, however, that Thomas will face steep competition as he vies for one of the six guard spots that make up the three All-NBA teams. That competition includes the likes of Stephen Curry, Damian Lillard, Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, Chris Paul and Klay Thompson, among others.
“Hate to be the one who has to vote for All-NBA,” Kidd said with a slight smile. “There’s a lot of talent in this league, a lot of young talent.”
But, he added, “Isaiah’s had a heck of a year and he probably should make one of the teams.”
The coaches, however, don’t have a say in the All-NBA voting; a panel of sportswriters and broadcasters carry out the selection process at the end of the season.
Regardless of the end-result, the fact that Thomas has the backing of one of the NBA’s all-time greats is an impressive recognition in and of itself.