Isaiah Thomas brought a decidedly All-Star-styled play to the Celtics’ game against the Lakers on Saturday.
With the Celtics already up big over the Lakers in the third quarter, Thomas had an opportunity for an easy score on a breakaway — but he decided that wasn’t nearly enough, so he added some disrespect on it, tossing the ball off the backboard for an alley-oop dunk to Jaylen Brown.
Boston ended up beating the Lakers 115-95, with Thomas leading the team in points (18) and rebounds (eight) and disrespect.
In order to best prepare you for the NCAA Tournament from a draft perspective, I have built out a top-50 NBA Draft Big Board for the first time this season. Some quick rules worth noting:
This is certainly not a complete document. As we see these players in the tournament and go through the pre-draft process, this thing will evolve.
As far as freshmen are concerned, I do not rank them outside of the top 50. This affects Frank Jackson, Kobi Simmons, Omer Yurtseven, De’Anthony Melton, Andrew Jones and others who would fill out the final portion of this board. The reason I don’t do this: most freshmen not among the top-50 players in the country return to school, so this allows me more space for upperclassmen who actually could decide to stay in the draft.
The Celtics run the exact same play on the next possession, only this time Thomas kicks the ball out to a wide open Rozier on the wing. Thomas doesn’t generate many assists in the fourth quarter — more on that later — but he is more than capable of making the right read when teams attempt to take away his scoring.
Doubling Thomas isn’t necessarily the answer, either. Watch as he fights through the double team on the same double screen before passing the ball to Crowder, who then dumps the ball down to Horford in the post with Ariza guarding him. Had Ryan Anderson not doubled Thomas at the point of attack, Horford wouldn’t have had a mismatch in the post.