Isaiah Thomas’ Defense Will Keep The Celts From Beating The Cavs In The Playoffs
Lebron James is the best player in the world and he showed that as he dominated the Celtics in their matchup to essentially determine who would be the 1 seed in the eastern conference. He did it offensively, defensively, on the boards and psychologically as he was giving dap to fans after his two handed block of Marcus Smart in the decisive second quarter,
This game, believe it or not, was not about LeBron James. It was about the Celtics “mvp candidate” Isaiah Thomas and how the Celtics performed on the floor and off the floor. To many observers, the game was lost when Thomas went to the bench in the second quarter and the Cavs went on an 18-4 run turning a one point deficit into a 13 point lead which they would never surrender. However, this game underscored the problem with Isaiah Thomas that the Celtics can’t overcome being that he is literally the worst defender in the NBA. At 5’8″ tall, this is not a surprise, but poses a serious problem for the Celtics if they hold out any hopes of making a deep playoff run.
Isaiah Thomas Is Easily The League’s Worst Defender
It’s really bad. It’s like historically bad. Benedict Brady has documented how atrocious it is. We must give credit where it is due.
Over the past few years, Isaiah Thomas has transformed from a role player into an obvious All-Star candidate. He is having a transcendent offensive year, and he has been particularly impressive in the 4th quarter. However, Isaiah Thomas’s strong offensive season is being partially offset by his subpar defense. Thomas has a 9.1 offensive BPM which ranks second among players who have played 15 or more games, and a -4.0 defensive BPM, which ranks dead last.
Box Plus/Minus (BPM) is a box score-based metric for evaluating basketball players’ quality and contribution to the team. BPM relies on a player’s box score information and the team’s overall performance to estimate a player’s performance relative to league average. BPM is a per-100-possession stat.
In fact, Alex Eddy points out how Thomas is not only the league’s worst individual defender, but the league’s worst team defender also. Out of the 86 results for DRPM (Defensive Real Plus Minus) among point guards on ESPN, Thomas is ranked 86th. That means he has virtually no impact on team defensive performance. That is unbelievable. He has a -4.42 for DRPM. In other words; defensively, the Celtics would be better off playing 4 on 5.
Why is Thomas so bad defensively? It’s a question of motivation. He doesn’t have it on the defensive side of the ball like he does on the offensive side. Also, in a league that is essentially all pick and roll, Thomas often gets lost in the pick and roll game.
Can the Celtics ultimately beat the Cavs to win the east? It will be difficult when their, and one of the league’s, most potent offensive players is hands down the league’s worst defensive player.