Since being acquired from the Phoenix Suns at the trade deadline this past season, point guard Isaiah Thomas has unquestionably been the Celtics' top talent. The explosive Thomas played the sixth man role to perfection as the Celtics pushed their way into the postseason, with rookie point guard Marcus Smart holding down the starting position.
Now, according to CSNNE, the Celtics are "giving serious thought" to the idea of giving Thomas the starting spot.
What? Did I read that right? Yep..
What are the Celtics and Brad Stevens thinking? Yes, Isaiah Thomas is a much better player than Smart right now, but the Celtics used the sixth overall pick in the draft just last year to select Smart from Oklahoma State. With only one NBA season under his belt and just under 40 career starts, Smart is still in the early stages of his development.
When Smart opted to return to school after his freshman year, he did so knowing that he would likely be one of the first two players taken off the board. When he entered the draft after his sophomore campaign and fell to the Celtics at the sixth pick, Boston fans knew they were getting and an absolute steal.
Smart has the potential to be a star in the NBA on both ends of the floor, but he needs time to develop into the player the Celtics think he will become. In order to speed up that process, Smart needs to play as much as possible. Smart has already proven to be a solid NBA floor general, so there really is no reason to make the switch purely from a talent perspective.
But that's not all. Aside from the fact that Smart has already proven that he can get the job done as a starter, there's also the matter of how this team is put together. If you look at the way the Celtics' roster is built, there are several very good offensive players in the starting rotation. With names like David Lee, Tyler Zeller, and Avery Bradley all in the starting five, some of the scoring load is taken away from Smart, taking a significant amount of pressure off of him.
Looking at the bench, the opposite could be said. With players like Jae Crowder, Jared Sullinger, and Amir Johnson running with various units, the bench does not have many pure offensive creators. That's exactly what Isaiah Thomas is. He's a wizard with the balls, and can score with the bet of 'em. Pairing that with competent offensive players who need others to set them up, and you have a very nice combination.
Whether Isaiah Thomas is more talented than Marcus Smart is irrelevant. With the way this Boston team is built, both players are exactly where they need to be. Adding Isaiah Thomas to the starting lineup with undoubtedly improve the unit's production, but the same can't be said for adding Smart to the bench.
Hopefully, the team will make the right call.
By Jacob Young, @Jacob_BBS