If confidence corresponded to height, Isaiah Thomas would stand much taller than his 5-foot-9 frame.
The Boston Celtics point guard is in the midst of a career season, entering Friday tied with the Toronto Raptors’ DeMar DeRozan as the Eastern Conference’s leading scorer at 28.2 points per game.
Thomas’ stellar play earned him some high praise from Kevin Garnett, who told the All-Star candidate on his “Area 21” show Thursday he believes Thomas should be in the conversation for MVP. If you think KG’s opinion is a stretch, don’t tell that to Thomas, who was asked before Friday’s game against the Atlanta Hawks where he thought he stood in the MVP race.
“Right behind (Russell) Westbrook and (James) Harden,” Thomas replied, via ESPN.com
That’s some pretty elite company, but Thomas has a right to boast. His 9.8 fourth-quarter points per game are the best in the NBA, just ahead of Westbrook (9.6), and he also ranks eighth in the Eastern Conference with 6.1 assists per game.
But even the uber-confident Thomas can admit he’s not on the same level as Westbrook and Harden.
“They’re having years that you can’t take away what they’re doing,” Thomas said. “They’re getting triple-doubles every other game. I’m not close to that. But, in a normal year, I’d probably be up there.”
Turns out Thomas is pretty high up there as it is. NBA.com had the 27-year-old sixth on its MVP ladder as of Friday, trailing only Westbrook, Harden, Kevin Durant, LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Thomas clearly is shooting for the moon, but even if he misses, it looks like he’ll land among the stars.
Thumbnail photo Tom Szczerbowski/USA TODAY Sports Images