Isiah Thomas praises Celtics' pickup of Isaiah Thomas

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Isiah Thomas praises Celtics' pickup of Isaiah Thomas Empty Isiah Thomas praises Celtics' pickup of Isaiah Thomas

Post by bobheckler on Sun Feb 22, 2015 4:17 pm

http://www.bostonherald.com/sports/celtics_nba/boston_celtics/2015/02/isiah_thomas_praises_celtics_pickup_of_isaiah_thomas



Isiah Thomas praises Celtics' pickup of Isaiah Thomas



Isiah Thomas praises Celtics' pickup of Isaiah Thomas 022015thomas2
Photo by: AP photo
POINTING THE RIGHT WAY: Former NBA star Isiah Thomas (above) has a strong bond with Isaiah Thomas, and says the newly acquired Celtics guad should fit in well with the team.


Saturday, February 21, 2015 PrintEmail1 Comments
By:  Steve Bulpett



The newest Celtic’s name may give the team’s followers pause, but his namesake believes they will love him.

Pistons legend Isiah Thomas couldn’t believe it when he heard that a 5-foot-9 guard who was tearing up the Pacific Northwest in high school was named for him because his father lost a bet on the 1989 NBA Finals. And while Isaiah Thomas (his mom wanted the Biblical spelling) was born four months before that series against the dad’s favorite team, the Lakers, began, the connection was natural.

“I was dying laughing,” said Isiah — “Zeke” to anyone remotely close to him — recounting when he first learned the story. “Not only was I dying laughing, but I loved it.”

And if you think Isiah Lord Thomas III has anything but love for the fact his young friend has been traded to the Pistons’ once-hated rival, well, Zeke has a hearty laugh saved up just for you.

The man the young Isaiah has called a mentor believes his friend has landed in a perfect place — for a number of reasons.

“I think I was more excited than he was,” the 2000 Hall of Fame inductee told the Herald. “I called him first when I heard about the trade, and I told him, I said, ‘This is going to be great for you.’

“I told him, ‘There’s two historic organizations in the NBA — LA and Boston — and you’re getting a chance to play for one of them.’

“I told him he would love Danny (Ainge) and that he was going to be immersed in a basketball culture. I told him he was going to be around people who have won championships, who talk championship and understand championship. Not too many players are blessed with that opportunity to be around that environment. I mean, Cedric Maxwell is calling the games, and he was the MVP of The Finals. Tommy Heinsohn is doing their TV, and he’s in the Hall of Fame as a player and a coach. I told him, ‘You’re getting ready to be immersed in a basketball culture and tradition that you’ve never experienced before, and feel fortunate because it’s a wonderful opportunity. Embrace it.’”

Isiah may have had his battles with Ainge and the Celtics in the 1980s, but clearly isn’t letting that cloud his thinking.

“This is a great opportunity for (Isaiah),” said Zeke. “One of the things I told him is, ‘You’re going to have the luxury of, after bad games or what have you, talking to Danny Ainge. I mean, Danny is the president (of basketball operations) there, and he’s won championships and done everything in this business that you can think of. You’ll be able to talk to him and get information from him.’ I said, ‘That is invaluable to you. You’ve never been in a situation like that.’

“I’ve watched Isaiah since high school, and he’s not as tall as Danny. But you have to remember, you could play Danny at the point. You could play him off the ball. If you wanted Danny to score 20 points, you could run some plays for him and he’d get you 20 points. If you wanted Danny to just be a facilitator and spread the floor and knock down 3’s, he could do that. Danny was a complete player, and Isaiah’s a complete player, too. He’s not as tall as Danny, but he can do what you need. If you make him the sixth man, he’ll be like the other guys who came off the bench in Boston. He’ll be good at it.”

Isiah then spoke of coach Brad Stevens in praiseworthy tones and added, “He’s going to be around a team and a coach and a staff that gets him. I really do think it’s a good fit. I’m really excited for him to play in Boston.”

So just what are the Celtics getting? Well, it’s probably important to note that Isaiah Thomas is not Isiah Thomas.

“Yeah, I was just a much better defender than he is,” said the latter, punctuating the comment with a long laugh. “But basketball-wise, in terms of scoring, creating your own shot, finishing around the basket and in the lane, he’s got every offensive basketball shot that you want a guard to have. And at the end of a game, he can make a play and make a shot.

“He’s not afraid. He has that thing that all of us have as small players, small men playing in a big man’s game,” the 6-1 Thomas added. “For whatever reason, while we’re playing, we don’t see size. Then you retire and you walk away and you go, ‘Oh, (expletive), those guys were really big.’ But when you’re playing, you think everybody’s your size. So he has that perception of the game.”

It’s fairly clear that Isaiah brought that perception to the court before he met Isiah. But the two worked on his game and more.

“We exchanged phone numbers, and all while he was going through college and going through the draft, we stayed in touch,” said Zeke. “I would call him up and critique his games and talk to him about life, leading, being a good citizen in the community, giving back, and loving the game but understanding how you can use the game to better yourself and your community and better your humanity.

“In college, he was going against zones a lot, so we talked about how he needed to get a floater going down the lane because people are taking charges. And there was one tournament game that they lost and I remember calling him right after the game. The great thing I can say about him is he was always receptive to advice and information, and he was always seeking it.”

And now Isiah Thomas has another piece of advice for Isaiah Thomas: enjoy being a Celtic.





bob
MY NOTE:  I read a tweet that said that Thomas watched the Sacto game in Boston with Danny Ainge.  That's a nice touch.


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bobheckler
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