BOSTON — Every sports fan has loved a player, but it’s rare that a player has felt the type of love that Boston Celtics fans have for Isaiah Thomas. Despite his diminutive stature — we decided to get our journalistically required reference to Thomas’ height out of the way early — Thomas shouldered the load for the Celtics in one of the more remarkable individual seasons in recent memory, leading the team to an Eastern Conference-best 53-29 record while averaging 28.9 points per game with the best fourth quarter scoring mark in the NBA during the 2016-17 campaign.
Thomas gave everything he had to the Celtics that year, playing for the team during the postseason in the immediate aftermath of his sister passing away and taking the floor despite a nagging hip injury that has turned the last year and a half of his basketball playing life into, essentially, one gigantic albatross. Watching Isaiah Thomas play basketball is supposed to be fun. Watching the recent version of Isaiah Thomas that has tried to get back to that point has, largely, not been all that enjoyable.
Currently, Thomas is lumbering on the Denver Nuggets in search of a hot streak that moderately resembles the extended run of form that made him perhaps the most exciting player in the league during his halcyon days. Everyone remembers the lightning in a bottle feeling that came with watching Thomas at his peak, but unlike fans of the NBA’s other 29 teams, the Boston faithful pined their hopes on dreams on Thomas’ ability to get the job done.