Welp. It was kind of a long shot, but there was just enough reasonable hope among Celtics fans that more than a few of us got our hopes up. And thus they were dashed.
Per ESPN, Isaiah Thomas–the Little Guy, the King in the Fourth–will not start the 2017 NBA All-Star Game in New Orleans this February.
Like I said above, I’m sure that many of us at Red’s Army and among the greater Celtics fanbase didn’t consider Isaiah a lock for a starting spot. But after the month and a half he’s had…well, shit, y’know? Some other people were named as starters. You might have heard of them. But seriously, most of the names aren’t particularly surprising:
For the East, the Cavaliers’ Kyrie Irving and DeMar DeRozan, the Midrange Murderer of Toronto, hold the guard positions, while LeBron James, the Bulls’ Jimmy Butler, and–in something of a surprise for me, who voted for him thinking it wouldn’t happen–Milwaukee Bucks franchise wunderkind Giannis Antetokounmpo form the frontcourt. (If you want to be mad: I.T. had an identical weighted score to DeRozan, requiring a tiebreaker contingent solely on fan vote results, which DeMar placed 3rd in over Isaiah’s 4th.)
Out in the West, things are a little controversial–or they are if you’re a media member who needs to make mountains out of molehills. MVP candidate James Harden and Steph Curry have been selected to share guard duties, while the Spurs’ Kawhi Leonard, Anthony Davis of the host city’s home squad, and Kevin Durant are the frontcourt. A certain point guard for the Oklahoma City Thunder is conspicuously missing. I’d hazard a guess that he’s seething over this more than many of his fans–even though he shouldn’t, because he’ll be on the team as a reserve, play plenty of minutes and probably win All-Star MVP anyway, and also because All-Star starts are pointless unless you have contractual incentives tied to them, which Russell Westbrook does not.
As I said when we last discussed this, you’ll be able to knock me over with a fucking feather if Isaiah doesn’t make the reserves when those names are announced Jan. 26. Coaches pick those–every coach to face I.T. of late has spoken of him in near-awe. He’s averaging about 29 points per game (along with 6 assists, approx. 3 boards, and a steal). It’s undeniable that he’s a become guard in this league, let alone the East.
Things may be dicier for Al Horford and particularly Avery Bradley, the Cs’ other All-Star campaigners–the latter has bigger problems due to a bruised Achilles anyway–but I could see Al making the reserves, especially because one of the coach’s choices is liable to be injured by mid-February. Either way, we’ll find out a week from today.
(Damnit. Friggin’ DeRozan.)