Isaiah Thomas was a big reason why the Boston Celtics were a 48-win playoff team this season. Now, the Celtics are hoping he can bring them luck in their next important venture.
Thomas will represent Boston at Barclays Center on May 17 for the 2016 NBA Draft lottery, he confirmed to reporters Friday during a final media session at the team’s practice facility in Waltham. Thomas said team co-owner Wyc Grousbeck asked the All-Star guard if he’d like to be the team’s representative, and Thomas didn’t hesitate.
“Coming from where I’m from, and the story I have, you’d never think I’d be asked to go represent an NBA franchise at the lottery,” Thomas said, via The Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach. “So it’s a blessing for (Grousbeck) to even ask me that. I’m excited to do it and hopefully I can bring some luck.”
The Celtics historically have had rough luck in the lottery, but this year is as good a year as any to turn that around. Boston owns the Brooklyn Nets’ first-round pick, which has the third-best odds of being a No. 1 overall selection at 15.6 percent, behind the Philadelphia 76ers’ pick (25 percent) and the Los Angeles Lakers’ selection (19.9 percent).
The C’s could fall anywhere between No. 1 and No. 6 but have a 46.9 percent chance of landing in the top three, which could give them a shot a player like LSU’s Ben Simmons or Duke’s Brandon Ingram.
Thomas is a fairly superstitious guy, and apparently he’s planning on bringing some sort of talisman to try to break the Celtics’ lottery curse.
“I’m going to do my research,” Thomas said. “Hopefully I can find something that’s good-luck worthy.”
Let’s round up some other notes from the Celtics’ exit interviews:
— The key to the Celtics’ offseason will be attracting big-name free agents, with Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant at the top of the list. Thomas, a Seattle-area native who admitted Friday he knows Durant from his time with the Seattle SuperSonics, said he’s ready to “put (his) recruiting hat on.”
“If you don’t want to play for the Celtics, then you don’t know basketball,” Thomas said, via MassLive.com’s Jay King. “The tradition is amazing. The fans are great, and once you experience this type of love they show you, it doesn’t get any better.”
— Swingman Evan Turner is one of three Celtics players set to become free agents this summer, along with big men Jared Sullinger and Tyler Zeller. Turner said Thursday he’d love to be back in Boston next season but also was realistic that he could land elsewhere. On Friday, he took to Instagram to thank Celtics fans in case Thursday night’s game was his last.
— Zeller had a disappointing season for Boston, averaging just 6.1 points in 11.8 minutes per game. But like Turner, Zeller also would like to be back wearing Green next season.
“Hopefully it’ll work out,” Zeller said Friday, via King. “We’ll kind of see where we end up, but they genuinely hope I’m back. I know it was a rough year this year, but overall it’s a great organization, great place to be, and so we’ll really just wait and see what happens.”
— Celtics big man Kelly Olynyk was among the walking wounded for Boston’s first-round playoff series against the Atlanta Hawks, missing Games 2 and 3 after aggravating a right shoulder injury. Olynyk returned for the Celtics’ final three games but was a shell of himself, and apparently he still was dealing with the pain.
Thumbnail photo via Mark L. Baer/USA TODAY Sports Images
Thumbnail photo via Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas (4) reacts against the Atlanta Hawks during the second half in game six of the first round of the NBA Playoffs at TD Garden.