Mr. 4th Quarter, Mr. MVP
Approaching the All Star break, the NBA MVP trophy seems likely to either head to Houston with James Harden or Oklahoma City with Russell Westbrook. Those two players are filling up the stat sheet, and don’t seem to be slowing down. Westbrook is averaging a triple-double and looks like he’s going to end the season that way. Harden isn’t too far behind, also averaging a career high in assist.
I’m here to make an argument for one other player that is worthy of the Maurice Podoloff trophy. That would have to be none other than Isaiah Thomas a.k.a. Mr. 4th Quarter, I.T.4 or King of the Fourth.
Standing at 5 feet 9 inches and drafted last in the 2011 draft this is something no one expected but himself. He has turned the Boston Celtics from a team that was planning to rebuild, to a team that can possibly challenge the Cleveland Cavaliers for a spot in the NBA Finals.
Right now the Celtics stand with a 37 -20 record, that puts them 2nd in the East and just 3 games behind the 1st place Cavaliers. None of that would be possible without Thomas’ level of play this season.
Thomas ranks among the best in PER (Player Efficiency Rating) at 27.69, which is a career high for him. He comes in ranked at number three right behind Westbrook and Kwahi Leonard, and slightly ahead of Harden.
He’s 2nd in the league in scoring right behind Westbrook and right in front of Harden. Isaiah’s current stat line is 29.8 points, 6.4 assists and 2.6 rebounds per game, most being career highs or matching. Since mid December it has been nothing but positive across the line. He’s been putting up similar numbers as the past MVP Stephen Curry when he won it.
One part of the game that Thomas has completely dominated is the 4th quarter. When the last quarter of a game approaches it’s officially I.T. time. He is leading the NBA with 10.6 points per game in the 4th quarter. The next player behind him is Westbrook. Also doubling Westbrook in other 4th quarter stats.
The key word in MVP though is VALUABLE. You could argue that Harden is the most valuable player for his team the Houston Rockets. You can’t deny that I.T. is as valuable for the Celtics. He causes a similar match up problem that Harden does with their shooting and getting to the paint.
The comeback against the Toronto Raptors in early February wouldn’t have been possible with out Thomas’ 19 point 4th quarter. What about the 52 points he dropped late December against the Miami Heat. Not to mention that 29 of those points came in the 4th quarter. The last Celtic to drop at least 52 points was the legend, Larry Bird.
With Kevin Love’s recent injury, 1st place in the East is a real possibility for the Celtics. Now is the time for Isaiah to show the league what he came here to do. Prove all the doubters wrong and show every team in the league why they shouldn’t have skipped him in the draft. Who knows, he might pick up a MVP along the way.