Isaiah Thomas was made to be a 6th man. He's the perfect change of pace, scoring point guard and he struggles on defense. Yet at every stop he's voiced his desire to be a starter. He's supremely confident and that confidence is what makes him as effective as he is. Yet there are some whispers that both the Kings and Suns were willing to part ways with him in part because of his insistence that he belongs in the starting lineup.
So far in Boston he's been thriving in his role coming off the bench. It works because Marcus Smart and Avery Bradley make a formidable defensive backcourt duo and Thomas injects scoring punch off the bench. However, when Bradley suffered an elbow injury, Stevens was left with a choice of how to handle the staring role.
He elected to put Evan Turner into the starting lineup in order to keep the flow of the offense consistent. Thomas is keeping a stiff upper lip, but he makes no secret of the fact that he wants to start.
Stevens, the perfect politician, is making sure Thomas knows how much they like him and convincing him that this role is the best for him and the team right now.
"[Starting] may be something that he wishes he would do," Stevens said of Thomas, "but I don’t think there’s any question that he knows what we think of him, and we’ll go from there."
Thomas is finishing games, which any coach will tell you is far more important than starting. But Thomas is resolute. He wants to be a starter.
Stevens said Thomas would still be on the court at the end of games, and he believes that is most important. Thomas appreciated that sentiment, but he would rather be on the court at the beginning and the end. "Hopefully, one day that time will come," Thomas said.
Nothing to worry about at the moment. We're still in the honeymoon period with Thomas. But this is something that bears tracking as the season finishes up and into training camp next season.