It took Isaiah Thomas a little while to find a home in the NBA, but after stops in Sacramento and Phoenix, he has taken to life in Boston splendidly. Thomas just made his second straight All-Star team for the Celtics, and he's averaging the second most points per game (29.4) of any player in the league.
Thomas isn't just happy about his individual success, but the situation he's been put into as a member of the Celtics. The Suns signed Thomas to a four-year, $28 million deal back in 2014, and they only kept him for half a season before they traded him to his current squad. With the two teams set to go head-to-head in Phoenix Sunday night, Thomas told reporters the trade to Boston was one of the best things to ever happen to his career:
Thomas has a point: the two teams involved in that transaction have gone in opposite directions since finalizing the trade. Phoenix acquired a player (Brandon Knight) in that deal who makes a lot more money and is considerably less productive than Thomas, and they currently hold the league's third-worst record at 20-42. With Thomas' help, the Celtics have steadily moved into the Eastern Conference's upper echelon over the last couple years, and their 40-22 record this season is almost the exact inverse of the Suns'.
Compared to his last two stops in Phoenix and Sacramento, Boston has to feel like nirvana for Thomas. There's a rich basketball history in the recent and distant past, and the so-called "King in the Fourth" has a ton of help from a talented supporting cast. Boston boasts one of the NBA's best young coaches in Brad Stevens, and a ton of future flexibility with cap space and draft picks.
They have to actually capitalize on that promise, and the Celtics haven't won a playoff series since the last gasp of their "Big Three" in 2012. But regardless of whether you think the Celtics are a real playoff threat, Thomas isn't wrong to call it a gift to move from one of the league's worst teams to one of its best.
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