Voting for the NBA All-Star Game starters closed on Monday night, and Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas was an extreme long shot to be one of the three guards selected; he ranked ninth in the most recent voting figures released by the NBA.
Thomas should have an excellent chance of being voted in as a reserve by the Eastern Conference coaches. He is averaging 21.8 points and 6.6 assists per game for the Celtics, who have positioned themselves as a playoff team. But until he hears the news, he will proceed cautiously. He said it is discouraging to see a player like Hornets guard Jeremy Lin, who is averaging 12.2 points and 3.0 assists this season, ahead of him in the voting.
“I think I should [be an All-Star], but I’ve been gypped all my life,” Thomas said. “So I don’t try to — I don’t guarantee anything, because I’ve always been let down. But at the same time, hopefully they respect me enough to put me in there. And we’ll go from there. If not, I’m going to keep pushing. I’m going to keep grinding and do my part.”
Thomas said he believes his 5-foot-9-inch stature is what gives fans and coaches pause, much as it has throughout his career.
“If I was 6-foot, there wouldn’t be no consideration about how I’d be in there,” he said. “But I’m going to do my part. And then with this team, hopefully we can get a few wins before the All-Star break and even put me in a better position to be there.”
Thomas said that Paul George, Derrick Rose, and George Hill are among those who have come up to him during games this season and said he deserves to be an All-Star. On Monday night, Celtics coach Brad Stevens vouched for Thomas, too, saying coaches should look at his statistics, but also consider how important he is to the success of the Celtics.
“The fans don’t see that, I don’t think,” Thomas said. “But getting voted in by the coaches, I think maybe that helps me because they see how much I do for this team.”