Boston Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas made his first All-Star game this season. He’s averaging 21.4 points and 6.8 assists per game, and only six players in the entire league have made more free throws.
If you look at those numbers then watch the Celtics play, it’s not hard to figure out that the 5’9" speedster has evolved from a one-dimensional spark plug into a legitimate offensive star.
But some still doubt that Thomas is good enough to lead the Celtics anywhere worthwhile, and that criticism doesn’t sit well with Boston’s best player.
On Monday, Thomas told reporters that he will decline an invitation to appear on a CSNNE TV show because the co-host, Gary Tanguay, still believes the 27-year-old will never be a star:
It's Boston @Isaiah_Thomas we tell it like it is. You are not a foundation player. A very good player but not great. From the other guy.
“I would never go on his show,” Thomas said. “I don't even know his name…The funny thing about it, he's going back on everything he's saying because he knows he's wrong. I don't know him but he's got a bad rap on social media so that says a lot about him. But it is what it is. I told you they'll find something to say.” Informed that Tanguay issued an invitation to appear on his show, Thomas said, “Yeah, because he knows he's wrong. Everybody's on his head. He knows he's not right.”
Can the Celtics "build around" Thomas to win a championship? Probably not, but it’s unclear who said they could. Instead, for all he’s accomplished this year, Thomas deserves far more praise than criticism. The Celtics score 6.1 more points per 100 possessions when he’s on the court, which functions as the same difference between the league’s seventh best and third worst offensive units.
If the regular season ended today, Boston would enter the playoffs as a three seed, with home-court advantage and high expectations. It’s a very good team, and Thomas is the single biggest reason why.