Boston Celtics Player Preview-Predictions: Isaiah Thomas

BOSTON, MA - MAY 17: Isaiah Thomas
BOSTON, MA - MAY 17: Isaiah Thomas /

How will Isaiah Thomas perform in a contract year for the Boston Celtics?  Will his value bring out the brinks truck?

Isaiah Thomas has a lot to play for this season. He is on the last year of his contract with the Boston Celtics, and he needs to prove that he can win with ball movement as well as isolation play.

While he is arguably the best isolation scorer in the league, IT4 has the passing vision and ability to thrive in the Celtics’ system in more than one role. For the Celtics to dominate at full capacity, Isaiah Thomas will need to become more of a distributor. If this doesn’t happen, he may not be a Celtic a year from now.

The flip side of this is that Isaiah has plenty of options to share the rock with, as well as the freedom to do so. If he prioritized passing, he could average 20 and 10 (points and assists) easy. The King of the Fourth has a high chance of staying put as long as the front office can free up the cap space necessary to retain him.

Since that issue is out of the way, it is time to start the preview.

The recap

Isaiah Thomas is coming off of a historic season. It is also the best season of his career. He established himself as a clutch and efficient scorer, earning the nickname The King of the Fourth (you’ll notice me call him that a lot). He averaged 28.9 points per game, 5.9 assists per game, 2.7 rebounds per game, 0.9 steals per game, and 0.2 blocks per game.

Boston Celtics
BOSTON, MA – MAY 19: Isaiah Thomas /

That is a solid stat line, but when you add the shooting percentages (46.3 percent from the field over about 19 shots per game, 37.9 percent from beyond the arc off of 8.5 attempted threes per game, and almost 91 percent from the free throw line), it becomes a great stat line. He showed last year that he is capable of putting up huge and efficient scoring numbers.

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Just like the movies

This year, IT doesn’t need to score 29 per game for this Boston Celtics offense to thrive at their highest level. In fact, he shouldn’t need to score more than 25 points, which doesn’t seem like a huge decline, but it does make a difference.

If Isaiah doesn’t take the five or six shots it may take to get those four extra points, two teammates can take those shots. This means the ball is being moved around more, which keeps the defense on their toes. If you can keep the defense on their toes, then it is easier to control the flow of the game, as well as get in their heads.

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Most sports are more about your mental ability than they are about your physical ability, and we all know how much physical ability means in the world of sports.

With more options on offense this year, Isaiah might be asked to change his game up quite a bit. Instead of running isolations and pick and rolls up top, this team might look to implement a dribble drive offense. Most of the players on this team can effectively drive to the hoop. Instead of settling for mid range shots off the dribble and spot up threes, IT might kick it out to the perimeter off of the drive more often. This will more than likely benefit the offense in more ways than one.

The prediction

I predict Isaiah Thomas averaging roughly 23 points per game, 2.5 rebounds per game, and just over 7 assists per game. I feel that he has the potential to average double digit dimes, but chances are he hits 7, which is enough to help this team maximize their offensive potential.

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Isaiah could very well be the best player on this squad, but Gordon Hayward will be a close second if he adjusts fast enough. This Boston Celtics team will probably shock many doubters, and this is bound to be a big year for both the franchise and their point guard, The King of the Fourth!