The idea of the Boston Celtics pairing Isaiah Thomas with Markelle Fultz in the backcourt should have the rest of the Eastern Conference concerned.
Thomas is one of this year’s breakout stars and thanks to some savvy deals by the front office, could also play alongside the No. 1 pick in the 2017 NBA draft before long.
The draft’s consensus top player is Fultz out of Washington, a guy Thomas has already talked to, according to ESPN’s Chris Forsberg:
“He’s excited,” Thomas said. “I mean, he obviously doesn’t know where he’s going, but … he’s excited about the opportunity.”
Thomas went on to say Fultz has already asked about the Celtics:
“He asks questions; I answer them,” Thomas said. “He’s a good friend of mine. If it happens, we’ll figure out how to play together. If not, we’ll go from there.”
Fultz and Thomas would form one of the NBA’s nastiest backcourts right away. While the Washington product might only be 18 years old, he’s 6’4″ and 195 pounds coming off a season in which he averaged 23.2 points, 5.7 rebounds, 5.9 assists, 1.2 blocks and 1.6 steals per game while shooting 47.6 percent from the floor and 41.3 percent from range.
Speaking of range, Fultz has plenty of it. And while college numbers are often inflated, they speak to Fultz’s ability to stretch the court when he’s not driving to the rim while leaning on his explosive athleticism.
Some might clamor for the Celtics to make a trade or go elsewhere with the pick, but putting the draft’s best player next to Thomas and letting them grow together could put the Celtics on a serious hunt for a championship.
Oh, and Thomas seems to want it.