Sports from the Basement

Kemba Walker and Isaiah Thomas Deserve More Recognition In The Eastern Conference

It’s been a while since the crop of guards was so deep in the Eastern Conference. But this situation will generate a logjam looking towards the 2017 All-Star Game.

It’s undeniable Kyrie Irving and DeMar DeRozan will start for the East in the ASG. But that leaves only three spots (or maybe four) for lots of quality guards. We have John Wall, Kyle Lowry, Kemba Walker and Isaiah Thomas at point guard. All of them deserve a spot, but there’s a chance one or maybe two don’t make the final roster. There’s not enough space to carry them all.

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Dwyane Wade could be a choice solely due to his popularity. And let’s not forget about Giannis Antetokounmpo, who has spent most of the year as a SG. Bradley Beal and Avery Bradley are playing at a high level too. As we can see, there are lots of players who deserve an All-Star nod come February.

We know Lowry and Antetokounmpo are locks, and if the “Greek Freak” is listed as a forward then two more guards might be added.

Considering the situation, we have Thomas and Walker as two players who absolutely need to be part of the event. They’ve been too good to leave out of the roster, even if that means putting another quality player on hold.

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Let’s start with the Celtics point guard. Selected as the final pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, Thomas rose from an undersized guard to one of the most dynamic playmakers in the league in only a few years. He’s been playing better as the season advances, and an argument could be made to say he’s on his best right now. The former Sacramento Kings guard averaged 30.3 points in December, and it seems he’s just scratching the surface of his potential. He’s been one of the best guards in the entire NBA this year. And that’s not easy considering how deep the position is right now.

To make things even better, Thomas is on pace to reach career-highs in points (27.8), FT% (90.5) and assists (6.4) this season. His best game of the year came when he scored 52 points against the Miami Heat on December 30, 2016.

Thomas has been nothing short of spectacular, but we can’t ignore what Walker is doing, too. The Charlotte Hornets star continues to carry the team, and unless there’s a total collapse, they shouldn’t have problems to make the playoffs once again. If that’s the case, then Walker needs to get the recognition he deserves.

Through 34 games, Thomas ranks 16th in the league in scoring with 23.0 points per contest. He also averages 5.4 assists and 4.2 rebounds. Those numbers might not be spectacular, but one needs to watch the Hornets play to realize how important Walker is to the franchise.

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As if the intangiles aren’t enough, Walker has taken his scoring prowess to a whole new level this season. He’s posting career-highs in points per game (23.0), FG% (47.0), 3-PT % (42.0), and plus-minus (3.4), emerging as one of the elite scoring guards in The Association.

It’s entirely possible that one of Thomas or Walker are left out of the All-Star Game once again. Hell, maybe both fail to make the team. But there’s no doubt they have the numbers to back things up, and they clearly deserve more recognition in the league.

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