So if you’re a Celtics fan and you have been following the second half of the season you probably would have guessed that Isaiah Thomas would have won the Sixth Man of The Year Award. With the Celtics, he averaged 19.0 ppg in only 26 minutes of action per night off the bench. This was a solid sample size of 21 games after the trade deadline when he joined the team. In the first half of the season with the Phoenix Suns, he averaged 15.2 ppg in only 25 minutes per game in a crowded backcourt with Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe. All in all, he finished with season averages of 16.4 ppg and a PER of 20.63. The numbers alone justify him winning the award over the actual winner Lou Williams and the third place winner Jamal Crawford. Thomas finished in second place. Williams had averages of 15.5 ppg with a PER of 19.90 and played in 29 minutes per game.
Thomas overall averaged more points than him and did it in fewer minutes. Not to mention it is probable that Thomas’s overall average would have been more in the 17ppg-18ppg range had he been on the Celtics the whole year and not in the crowded backcourt in Phoenix. Jamal Crawford of the Clippers averaged 15.8 ppg and had a PER of 16.71 in 27 minutes of action. He averaged less than Thomas and his PER was significantly lower. Crawford also missed a significant chunk of the season down the stretch, which pretty much took him out of the race. I think we have to look beyond the stats in this instance even though they still favor Thomas. Prior to the arrival of Isaiah Thomas, the Celtics were going nowhere. They were 20-31 and it looked like another tanking year where we would get screwed out of a top 5 pick again.
Once Thomas was brought in everything changed. He brought a spark off the bench and ignited the team all the way to the 7th seed, and only one game away from the 6th seed. Imagine if we had this guy all year? He is a very quick and dynamic player. He can hit the three ball shooting just under 35 percent and can get to the rim at will. He is a volume shooter but still shoots around 42 percent from the floor. He has a competitive edge that turned this team around from a bottom feeder to a playoff contender, which is why he deserved the award. Louis Williams played on a Raptors team that may have a better record than the Celtics, but was very inconsistent all season and actually played much worse the second half of the year. Williams better enjoy it while it lasts because my gut tells me a full year in a Green uniform Thomas will run away with the award next season.
Thanks for a great season, C's!
By Spencer Roush @El_Spence_Man