10.29.2009

Tiny Passes the Torch to Zeke

1983-84 Boston Celtics
Pistons 127, Celtics 121
Record: 0-1
10/28/1983

The torch has been passed.

Tiny Archibald is 35, Magic Johnson defies position and although you'll get some argument from Maurice Cheeks fans, it seems safe to crown Detroit's Isiah Thomas as the premier point guard in the NBA. Incredibly, Thomas is only 22 years old and would be a rookie this year if not for the hardship rule. Instead, he has already started in two All-Star games and been named one of the league's top 10 players (a second-team All-NBA selection last season).

"I never came in thinking I had anything to prove," Thomas says. "I just want to win and go to the playoffs." "He's awesome," says Celtics' coach K. C. Jones. "He brings the ball up like Magic. He's a creative passer and a great outside shooter." "He's certainly among the best," says Quinn Buckner, who was Bobby Knight's playmaker before Thomas. "He played with the savvy of a two-year veteran when he first came into the league."

In 154 NBA games, Thomas has averaged 20 points and 7.8 assists. Last year, he led the league in minutes (3093), ranked fourth in steals, eighth in assists and 12th in scoring. In the Pistons' 127-121 season-opening win over the Celtics Friday night, he had 16 points, 5 assists and 2 steals. Detractors say that Thomas thinks "shoot" first and "pass" second, and could use some work on defense.

"I can get better at everything," he says. We probably won't know how good he is until (if) the Pistons start winning.

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