BOSTON -- It was another strong week for Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas, but not strong enough to win the Eastern Conference’s Player of the week honors.
That award went to Jimmy Butler, who, like Thomas, led his team to a 3-0 week.
This was the second consecutive week that Thomas was nominated for the award, the only player in the Eastern Conference with that distinction. In the Western Conference, Portland’s C.J. McCollum and Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan were nominated each of the last two weeks out West.
In the three games Butler led the Bulls to victory, he averaged a league-leading 38.0 points, 9.3 rebounds and 6.3 assists while shooting 46.4 percent from the field and 40 percent on 3’s.
Thomas averaged 30.3 points, which ranked fifth in the league last week, along with 6.0 assists and 3.7 rebounds while shooting 51.8 percent from the field and an NBA-leading 56.5 percent from 3-point range among players who averaged 25 or more points last week.
While Butler’s numbers certainly make him a worthy recipient of the award. But that shouldn’t take away from what was yet another strong week by Thomas, who has consistently been one of the top players in the East.
Out West, Golden State’s Stephen Curry was the Player of the Week out West when he averaged 31.8 points (third in the West) along with 5.5 assists and 4.5 rebounds in leading the Warriors to a 3-1 week.
The Celtics didn’t know when they traded a late first-round pick and Marcus Thornton for Isaiah Thomas that they were getting their next star player, but that 2015 trade deadline move has proven to be a pleasant surprise.
Appearing on Felger and Mazz Friday, Celtics CEO and co-owner Wyc Grousbeck said that he sees Thomas, who will be a free agent after next season, in the team’s longterm plans.
“Every one of these seasons is different. It’s like a movie and you have a cast of characters and the cast changes a little bit every season,” Grousbeck said. “We’d love to have Isaiah here for a long, long time. He’s a phenomenal player and he loves being here.”
The Celtics stand a strong chance of picking first overall in June’s draft since they own Brooklyn’s first-round pick. Asked whether Thomas’ status would prevent the team from taking a point guard (which the draft’s two prospects play), Grousbeck said the team doesn’t need to decide that now, but suggested it wouldn’t.
“Especially if it’s a very high pick in the draft, you’ve got to draft the best player,” Grousbeck said. “You probably wouldn’t draft for fit as much as just you see if there’s a transformational player that you can have for 10 or 15 years there. If you see a guy like that, you’ve got to make everything else work, I would think.”
Celtics CEO and co-owner Wyc Grousbeck joined Felger and Mazz Friday, defending Danny Ainge’s inactively at Thursday’s trade deadline.
Grousbeck’s thinking was that the team is two major pieces away from being a championship-caliber club, and that giving up assets without filling those spots completely might have been harmful.
“I think it takes some strength and courage not to do anything when everybody’s howling to do something,” Grousbeck said.
The Celtics were rumored to have had talks with the Bulls about Jimmy Butler and the Pacers about Paul George. Neither player ended up being traded.
“We’re very comfortable with what happened,” Grousbeck said. “We offered a lot for a couple of guys, and we offered all that we were going to offer and it just wasn’t going to happen. Those guys weren’t going to be traded and they weren’t. It’s not problem.
“We figure we’re probably two guys away from being a really, really good team; probably two significant guys away, and if we put all the chips in yesterday on one guy, we’re getting rid of draft pick -- or picks -- and we’re getting rid of free agency this summer, so it’s sort of like one step forward, two steps back. It just didn’t make sense.”