Isaiah Thomas is the King in the Fourth. This season and this amazing playoffs run has proven it. But what’s a king without his kingdom?
Isaiah has had a superstar season, but to help him out he’s had the whole Celtics roster, who have acted royally in their own right. We know it will take all the King’s horses and all the King’s men to challenge the Cleveland Cavaliers, so I thought it might be fun to look up and down the roster and see what titles the players have earned in the service of the Celtics.
Isaiah Thomas ‘the Younger’ – King in the Fourth, Lord of the Little Guys, Prince Regent of the Pick and Roll and the Heir to Iverson
While LeBron James may be the King in Cleveland, Isaiah Thomas has found himself a fiefdom in the fourth quarter. Now in the Eastern Conference Finals, the King in the Fourth is set to face King James. While it seems unlikely that the little lord will be able to usurp LeBron’s throne and take over the Eastern Empire, this will still be a clash of Kings.
Isaiah has proven he deserves to be viewed among the NBA’s elite. Yet even after a regular season and unfathomable playoffs run where he was truly dominant, there are still some who doubt the King in the Fourth. In the end it may take a full-blown insurrection for Isaiah to ascend to his rightful place as NBA royalty, and a revolution is what the Little Guy will have to bring to Cleveland if he wants to come at King James.
Al Horford – Crown Prince of Positional Play
Horford has basically been the Royal Vizier of the Celtics this season. He’s the go-to guy and the one who sets up a lot of what happens on the court. His immaculate, professional play has been the difference maker all season long.
Even though some might question the king’s ransom paid for big Al’s services, he’s proven to be worth his weight in gold during the playoffs. Whatever the cost, if the Celtics want to take the fight to the reigning NBA champs, they’ll need all of Horford’s acumen and ability in the showdown with the Cavs.
Avery Bradley – Lord of the long-range and Defender of the Realm
Avery is the Celtics’ resident assassin above the arc. Besides his sharp shooting, Bradley is also Boston’s best defender. Plus, as the longest serving Celtic on the current roster, he is the only stalwart to have been with the team when they were last on top.
Bradley’s play on both ends of the floor has been crucial to the Celtics’ success all season long and particularly during the playoffs. Avery’s absence last playoffs was a big part of the Celtics’ early exit, and his presence this year has been a big part of their deep push. If he can bring a true two-way presence to the series, then Avery could be the Celtics’ biggest X-factor.
Jae Crowder – Marquis of three-and-D
When Jae plays his role and plays it well, he is the unquestioned lord of his domain. His numbers have stagnated this season, but he still brings fire and passion to every game.
Crowder will likely essentially act as the Celtics’ ‘LeBron stopper’ for the series with the Cavs, which could be just the challenge Jae needs to find his form. The playoffs are where stars are born and legends are forged. If Jae Crowder can bring every ounce of effort he’s got against LeBron, then he’ll earn his fair share of acclaim.
Archbishop Amir Johnson – Veteran of the Frontline
‘Old Man’ Amir is the Celtics’ salty veteran. He might not be the oldest player on the roster, but he’s put in a lot of yards already. Amir’s been less of a factor during the playoffs than he was during the regular season, but his veteran status and steady support make him a legend in the locker room.
Plus with his contract ending and one of the biggest stages in basketball looming, Amir may still be able to put in some strong performances.
Marcus Smart – Sergeant-at-arms and Duke of Defense
The Baron of bully ball and chief of the Royal Guard Marcus Smart is the Celtics’ first and last line of defense. He’s had his ups and downs during the playoffs—and for most his career—but Smart is one guy you would want in your corner anytime you go to war, and this series with the Cavs will be war.
Kelly Olynyk – Minister of Mismatches
Olynyk was amazing during Game 7. He exploited mismatches, made plays and sunk shots. The Canadian man-bun certainly earned a spot in the King’s cabinet, but he’ll need to do all that and more if he plans to put on a clinic in Cleveland.
Gerald Green – Journeyman Adventurer Extraordinaire
The Journeyman Gerald traveled far and wide from his original New England Kingdom, and after his long journey he found his way back home to Boston. Green’s already given the Celtics a few good games during the postseason, but they’ll need more from the world-weary veteran in the upcoming clash. If the green knight still has some fight left in him, then now will be the time to bring it.
Terry Rozier – Baron of the bench and apprentice assassin
Rozier has proven himself as the leader of the bench. He’s provided some exciting postseason play for the Celtics already, and his rapid development has been something special.
Jaylen Brown – The one who could be king
The future is very bright for the Celtics and for Jaylen Brown. When given some run in Game 7, Brown proved he could show up at big moments and be a factor when it matters. With his youth, athleticism and his continuing experience in Brad’s system, Jaylen could be a future king of the NBA, but for now he has a long way to go if he wants to show he’s not just another pretender.
Jonas Jerebko – Viceroy of role play
The Swedish Larry Bird has cooled off somewhat this season, but good role players often seem to not be doing much, until they’re needed. Jerebko is due a big series this postseason—maybe the showdown with Cleveland is when JJ steps up for pride, for the Celtics and for Sweden.
Tyler Zeller – Ever-ready Earl of perpetual preparedness
Zeller is always ready to play. If Stevens needs to shakeup the front court for any reason, he knows that he can put Zeller in there and he’ll be ready. This matters more than it might seem. After all, reliability and loyalty are the foundation of any great kingdom.
Jordan Mickey, Demetrius Jackson – Knights of the watch
These guys haven’t had much of a chance to play but by now they’ve certainly watched a lot of basketball from a really good position.
James Young – Court jester
Some of his play this season has gone a long way to prove Young is no fool, yet after years with the Celtics he still remains at the bottom of the hierarchy. Sorry, James.
Archduke of Anticipation, the Emperor of Expectation and the Surprise Sultan of the Developing kingdoms – Ante Zizic, Guerschon Yabusele and Abdel Nader
There’s a lot of stock that’s been put in the Celtics’ current stashed players. While they’ve all shown they can play in the satellite and developing leagues they still need to show they can compete at basketball’s highest level. Here’s hoping they turn out to be even better than expected.
Brad Stevens – The Soothsaying all-seer of All-Star play
Stevens isn’t a soldier, he’s a prophet. It’s on Stevens’s words that the Celtics have risen, words that inspire men and shatter empires, words that could bring kings to their knees and end dynasties: ‘Play hard, play the right way, play the possession in front of you.’ In Brad We Trust.
Archmage Danny Ainge
If Brad is a prophet then Danny Ainge is something more, perhaps something darker. The true architect is always hidden in the shadows. Danny Ainge is the trader-king who built his domain on a deal. He is the guardian of the fabled Celtic mystique, and there is something almost magical about the ease with Danny has put together one of the most enviable assortment of assets in all of the NBA.
The unknown soldier – The upcoming pick
Who knows who the next Celtic could be? With the Eastern Conference Finals looming there’s hardly been the time to pay attention, but there are plenty of difference makers in this year’s deep draft. One of them could very well be the next member of the Celtics’ growing royal family.