Being drafted as the very last pick of the NBA draft leads to a lot of low expectations. For point guard Isaiah Thomas of the Boston Celtics, that was especially the case during the 2011 NBA draft, where he was drafted with the last pick of the second round by the Sacramento Kings. In a year where the Kings used their first pick (10th) on Jimmer Fredette, not much was expected from Thomas. As the season progressed, however, it became clear that the Kings had a steal.
Isaiah Thomas quickly became a starter for the Kings as he made his presence known, especially on the offensive end. His 11.9 points per game (Rotoworld.com) during his rookie season may not show how impactful he was on the court, but he was a spark on a team looking for a player who could be the future of their franchise. An increase in his scoring average (13 points per game) the following season showed he was improving, and it would carry on to his next stop in Phoenix with the Suns. After struggling to extend him, the Kings decided to do a sign-and-trade deal with the Suns to get something out of Thomas instead of letting such a talented player just walk without getting anything in return.
The Suns already had a crowded backcourt with multiple point guards on the roster. With Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe already leading the point guards, there was not much room for Thomas’s talent that intrigued the team. The Suns would realize the problems with having so many point guards on the roster, which lead to a deal with the Boston Celtics. As the season progressed, the Suns would realize they got rid of the wrong point guard.
The Boston Celtics were still a rebuilding team looking to become competitive sooner than later before the aquisiton of Thomas. With no consistent scorer on the roster, the Celtics felt they needed Thomas to fill the obvious void. The addition of Thomas showed its impact as the Celtics improved dramatically during the season, and began to show some promise with its young roster.
In 2014, the Celtics began to really show how good they could be. Adding Marcus Smart with their first round lottery selection (via the Brooklyn Nets) gave the Celtics the toughness they needed to compete with some of the more physical teams in the league. Thomas came off the bench for the second year in the row, which gave the Celtics a spark coming off the bench. This added a plethora of energy amongst the whole Celtics squad who would start to show that they could compete in a few years.
Between the 2015 and 2016 seasons, Thomas really showed how great a player he is. Averaging more than 20 points a game, he showed he can score at a consistent level. He would then be rewarded a starting role on an up-and-coming Celtics team that was looking to add some firepower to their offense. The Celtics were able to make it to the playoffs in 2014 with a strong playoff push, but eventually got swept by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round. The following year however, the Celtics would make it back to the playoffs, this time against the Atlanta Hawks. The leadership of Thomas became very clear to everyone as the Celtics fought back in a very tough series, lead by his aggressiveness and confidence to will his team to victory. Even with all of his effort, the Celtics would lose in six games, but it showed how great a player Isaiah Thomas had become.
After a strong 2015-16 campaign, Thomas was more determined than ever to recover from the two first round exits and become a more consistant threat on the offensive end. Through 34 games, he has posted the best numbers of his career, and has recorded at least 20 points in each of his games. He has shown the ability to be a superstar in the NBA. He may not have the ideal numbers of some of the other greats in the league, but constantly being a threat on the offensive end of the floor with great numbers, including a 52-point performance Friday night against the Miami Heat, just shows once again that Isaiah Thomas is a superstar in the NBA whether you like it or not.