Isaiah Thomas has been quite the talent since he was drafted as the very last pick in the 2011 draft. This season Thomas has emerged as a clear cut MVP candidate and still does not get the credit he truthfully deserves (outside of the Celtics fanbase). That’s where I come in.
In my opinion, there are 3 major factors that go into being an MVP candidate: individual statistics, team success, and overall impact. Let’s go over the evidence and look at it by the numbers. Form your own opinion after reading his case.
Isaiah Thomas has proven himself time and time again this season that he is one of the league's best scorers. Thomas is averaging 29 PPG this season and currently is only second to Russell Westbrook in scoring in the entire league. As of late, his scoring has actually picked up.
Since Christmas, Thomas is the leading scorer in the entire NBA (averaging 33.1 PPG). Not only that, but he is also shooting 49.5 FG% and dishing out 5.5 APG over that span. Thomas also has scored less than 20 points in ONE game all season. He scored 18 points in a 16 point loss to the Warriors. He has scored 30+ points 14 times this season. Not only that, but Thomas is more efficient than his MVP candidate counterparts.
He is shooting a higher FG%, 3 Point % and less turnovers than James Harden and Russell Westbrook despite shooting one less shot attempt than Westbrook and one more shot attempt than Harden. Also take into account the fact Thomas has an identical usage rate with Harden and being 7 points short of Westbrook in that category.
So Thomas checks out by my standards in the individual statistics aspect.
The Celtics are currently third in the Eastern conference with a record of 26-17 and have the eighth highest win percentage in the league. (.605 win percentage). They’re averaging 107.3 PPG this season, which is 9th in the NBA.
However, like their leader, Boston has gotten hot as of late. Since Christmas, however, the Celtics are 9-4, have the 7th highest win percentage in the NBA and are averaging 113.2 PPG. The team has been fairly successful thus far and are actually trending upwards.
So once again, another check for Thomas.
The impact is mostly off of the eye test. Anyone who has watched Celtics basketball knows the ball flows through Thomas and he is the floor general that makes things happen. In addition to this impact can also be measured by Clutchness. I consider clutch situations “In the fourth quarter or overtime, with less than five minutes remaining, with neither team ahead by more than 5 points.
This season there is arguably no player better than Thomas at the end of games. He is second only to Russell Westbrook (again) in total points under those circumstances, scoring 135 points in such situations. He is also shooting 48.7% from the field and 48.1% from three. The previous evidence also proves they have been winning these games. Thomas is unquestionably the engine that makes these Celtics run.
For the third time in my eyes, Thomas checks out.
In conclusion, Isaiah Thomas deserves a mention in MVP candidacy and more respect as a player. Thomas is the epitome of height over the heart and has his Celtics looking good in terms of playoff contention. Should he win MVP? That would be a reach. However, Thomas is a bonafide superstar in my eyes and a clear cut MVP candidate. Only time will tell if he and Boston can keep this up.