Isaiah Thomas, one of the most underrated players in the NBA, is finally getting his due. The Boston Celtics point guard, who is averaging 21.5 points and 6.6 assists per game, has been named an Eastern Conference All-Star.
Thomas, 26, rejoiced at the news. So did his teammates.
“Everybody on the team . . . was so happy for him,” Celtics reporter Amanda Pflugrad said in studio on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “I know a lot of the guys tweeted about it. Kelly Olynyk (posted a photo on Instagram) about it. They know how hard he works and how much he really has put into his game. They said no one else was more deserving than Isaiah Thomas. I know Coach (Brad) Stevens was very pleased, but just the players in general and the support that he had, it was really cool to see. That was kind of the talk of the locker room right after it was announced, and they were just really thrilled that he had finally gotten this opportunity and this moment.”
Thomas is the first All-Star of Stevens’ three-year tenure.
Stevens, it is worth noting, has Boston (27-22) firmly in the playoff mix. The Celtics rank sixth in the East.
“There’s a tremendous amount of respect for Coach Stevens,” Pflugrad said. “What he’s been able to accomplish at such a young age in college and at the NBA level – he’s talked (a lot) about (how) he wants his calm and collected demeanor to be out on the court. I know that they’ve said a little bit this season that he’s gotten a little more talkative with the refs and stuff, but overall, I just like that he views himself and how he is on the court as an extension of how his players are and he wants to be calm and collected and lead by example.”
Boston small forward Jae Crowder, in fact, has referred to Stevens as the Celtics’ leader.
“They really do look to him as support and they want to play for him,” Pflugrad said. “It’s awesome see when players rally around a coach like that.”
The Celtics have won five of their last six games. They play the Knicks in New York on Feb. 2 at 7:30 p.m. ET.