Isaiah Thomas is one of the most entertaining players in the NBA. He is fearless, a little guy (5’9″) driving and scoring among the trees in the NBA — he finishes well, a career 65% inside the restricted area. He plays hard all the time. He’s once and always the Pizza Guy. He was the No. 1 scoring option for the Celtics when he arrived, a time when the team’s offense was in flux last season. He’s a guy Celtics fans are pumped to see back.
Thomas likely comes off the bench behind Marcus Smart — which is the perfect role for him. He’s not a good enough defender to start, but as a scoring spark plug off the bench that changes the game he’s perfect.
Just don’t expect him to be happy with that role — he has much bigger aspirations for himself. That’s what he told Jay King of MassLive.com.
You have to love his confidence. But the little guy mountain is a tough one to climb.
If we define “little guy” by NBA terms to mean 5’11” or under, then who is the best ever in the NBA?
I think Calvin Murphy sets that bar. The Hall of Famer and All-Star was a 5’9″ point guard who averaged 17.9 points a game in his 15-year NBA career, all with the Rockets. He had a career PER of 18. It’s an impressive resume. (For the record, Allen Iverson was officially 6’0″ and “Tiny” Archibald was 6’1″.) Even the best player 5’11” and under in the NBA right now is Ty Lawson, not Thomas.
But I wouldn’t expect anything less of him than to try to climb that mountain.
It’s the single biggest question about Houston’s key offseason acquisition, Ty Lawson:
It a change of scenery and a fresh start what he needs to conquer his personal demons?
This is a man who had two DUIs inside of seven months and just got out of a rehab facility. He has baggage. But some around the point guard said he would change in a new situation and on a winning team where he had responsibility. Houston provides that opportunity.
Lawson also is the kind of dynamic playmaker the Rockets needed to help out James Harden, who had to carry a ridiculous load in Houston last season. Lawson echoed that saying the move to Houston is what he needed, he told Fox News 26.
“Oh yeah for sure,” Lawson said. “I was like before I even came to the team I was talking to James. I was like ‘man get me over there.’ I’ll be that piece to (help) get over the hump. It’s definitely a breath of fresh air….
“I feel like last year watching the playoffs, they definitely need another playmaker,” Lawson said. “You could tell James got a little bit tired. He had to come down and score and make passes every time on the court. So I just want to relieve a little bit of pressure for him the best way I can.”
For Lawson personally I hope this move and this situation are what he needs to get his life in order.
He certainly brings some shot creation and up-tempo play that the Rockets could use. His skill set bumps the Rockets up to true contender status. However, it’s going to take some experimentation by Kevin McHale to find lineups that will keep Houston in the top 10 defensively — playing Lawson and Harden together could supercharge the offense but creates defensive holes. Dwight Howard covers some of that, but not all.
McHale has time to figure it all out — Houston should be a lock as a playoff team and win plenty of games. But they are going to need to be better just to get back to where they were last season in a stacked West.
We told you almost a month ago that Chuck Hayes was going to go back to where his NBA career started and sign with the Houston Rockets. He was going to bring them veteran leadership, good defense in the post, strength on the glass, and hustle everywhere on the court.
Now he’s going to take those talents somewhere else.
The deal never got signed. Houston has a crowded frontcourt and roster, and due to that and salary cap reasons the deal could not be finalized. Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports has the details.
Houston made some moves after the Hayes deal was agreed to — the Ty Lawson trade, the signing of Jason Terry — that changed their cap picture.
Hayes wants to be a coach, eventually, but he thinks he’s got some ball left in his body.
There are teams that could use Hayes — he works hard and does the little things like battle on the boards, set hard screens, and play physical defense. He is a pro’s pro. Teammates love him. But he has battled injuries for a couple of seasons now and, at age 32, we will see what team will want to roll the dice on him staying healthy and taking up one of their final roster spots.