Examining Isaiah Thomas’ Recent Excellence

Isaiah Thomas has taken his game to another level over the past four games

Isaiah Thomas has easily been the Boston Celtics best player this season. At only 5’9″ he made the all-star team and has led Boston to a 39-26 record, the third best mark in the East. This season, Thomas has averaged 21.8 points, 6.6 assists, and 1.2 steals per game in 32.4 minutes. He has also played in every game this season, starting in all but three.

Thomas’ excellence this season has shown the Celtics’ organization that he is someone they can build around. He’s also shown that he is a top-ten point guard in the league, a top priority on every winning team, and is more than just a scorer. With that being said, it’s crazy to imagine that Thomas could continue to raise his game to another level, but that’s exactly what he has done.

Through four games in March, Isaiah Thomas has played at a level that very few players have the ability to. Thus far, Thomas has averaged a ridiculous 27.8 points, 4.8 assists, and one steal on 52.9 percent shooting from the field, and 47.8 percent from behind the arc. To put his numbers in perspective, MVP Stephen Curry has averaged 26 points, 5.3 assists, and 2.3 steals, but on 44.4 percent shooting, and 34 percent from three in March. Thomas has out-scored the NBA league leader in points per game, and has out-shot, arguably, the best shooter in NBA history.

The craziest statistic this month though is that through 129 minutes, Isaiah Thomas has committed one turnover. Not to mention that he started the month with over 100 minutes of playing time with no turnovers, not committing his lone turnover until the fourth game.

Considering that Thomas plays the point guard position 100 percent of the time and his usage percentage, according to ESPN.com, is 29 percent, it’s one of the great little stretches this season. His usage percentage is 13th most in the NBA, and higher than players like Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul.

A big reason for the success of Isaiah Thomas this month is how often he’s getting to the free-throw line. Thomas has attempted 8.5 free-throws per game, shooting 82.4 percent. His free-throw percentage has gone down a little, season average is 88.3 percent, but he is attempting two more free throws per game in March compared to his season average. Despite not shooting as high of a percentage, Thomas has still made seven free-throws per game, which is more than his 6.3 free-throw attempts per game average.

Another ridiculous statistic through the first four games of March is, his offensive rating is 145. Curry’s is 110 in March, Russell Westbrook owns a 109 rating, and Damian Lillard owns a 125 mark. It proves that even though it’s only been four games in the month, Thomas’ stretch proves he has played on a different level lately.

Thomas has also outplayed both Damian Lillard and Kyrie Irving in their meetings. Lillard scored 20 points and recorded six assists, while Thomas went off for 30 points and two assists. In the Celtics matchup against the Cavaliers, Irving recorded 20 points and four assists, compared to the 27 points and four assists Thomas put up. Obviously there are more factors that go into those stat lines, however, out-playing two of the best point guards in the league should not go unnoticed.

He has led the Celtics to a 3-1 record this month so far, their only loss being to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Thomas has also proved to be everything you need in your star player. He has scored over 30 points in two of the four games, has gotten to the line (at least eight attempts in three of the four games), shot efficiently, and has created opportunities for his teammates.

The idea that this amazing stretch could continue for a couple more games is possible. The Houston Rockets have had point guard issues all season, although Patrick Beverley is a very good defensive guard. Their next matchup is against the Indiana Pacers who have George Hill, but he’s not an overly talented guard.

It seems like the discussion of the Celtics needing a true star is starting to disappear. It’s clear the Thomas is that star, at least for this season, and what the Celtics really need is one or two more players who compliment and work well with him. Thomas has had a remarkable season, but this recent four game stretch only amplifies his excellence.