Tha Sports Junkies 101

Should Isaiah Thomas Be Considered a Max Player?

Should Isaiah Thomas Be Considered a Max Player? Riley Morris via Flickr


Is Celtics Thomas a Max Player?

There’s no doubt that Boston Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas had an incredible year. But with a great season comes a steep paycheck on Thomas’ mind. There’s speculation that Thomas wants near max type of money. But is IT4 worth the max player deal he’s searching for?

How Isaiah Got to Boston

The former last pick of the 2011 draft came to Boston on a mission. After suffering with the dreadful Sacramento Kings, Thomas got traded to the Phoenix Suns in the 2014 offseason. But n0w he came to a team who already had two good point guards in Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe. Due to the crowded backcourt, the ensuing season, IT4 was dealt to the Boston right before the trade deadline. And ever since that trade, the 5’9 Isaiah Thomas has thrived in the Northeast.

Full-Time Celtic

In his two full seasons with Boston, the former Washington Huskie has been a leader and the teams leading scorer. In the 2015-2016 season, Thomas averaged 22.2 points and 6.2 assists per game en route to his first all-star selection. The Celtics claimed the Eastern Conference’s 5th seed at 48-34, but was unable to get past the Atlanta Hawks in the 1st round. Thomas had a good playoff series though, as he averaged a shade over 24 points per game, which helped keep the series close.

After putting up a good campaign in ’15-’16, Thomas got off to a hot start in the 2016-2017 season and remained hot the whole year. Thomas averaged a career-high 28.9 points per game while dishing out a shade under 6 assists. But where he really improved was his field goal percentage and efficiency. Shooting a scorching 46% from the field and 91% from the free throw line, Thomas earned an All-Star nod for the 2nd consecutive season. With Isaiah’s elevated play, the addition of big man Al Horford, and the improved play of Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder, and Marcus Smart, IT and the Celtics were able to claim the East’s top seed at 53-29. He tallied a career high in PER at 26.5, which was good for 7th best in the NBA. Thomas also added an estimated 12.6 wins for Boston this past season and ranked 5th in usage rate at 34.0. Are these stats and his teams success enough to vow for his max-contract wishes?

IT4 Max Contract Worthy?

Thomas did grab a spot in the All-NBA 2nd team roster, and was one of the league’s best scorers in the 4th quarter. But he does lack the size and physicality needed to compete on the defensive side of the ball. Coach Brad Stevens has to try and hide Isaiah Thomas on the defensive end as he struggles. Thomas ranks dead last out of 91 qualified point guards in DRPM, which portrays a player’s estimated on-court impact on team defensive performance, measured in points allowed per 100 defensive possessions.

Putting his defensive struggles aside, if you can get a point guard who can put up 30 points on any given night. One who strives in late game situations. The Celtics should get him at least a near max deal done before or when his contract expires after next year. Because there’s not a player who has a bigger hip on his shoulder, and the willingness to want to be great than the 5’9 Phenom Isaiah Thomas.