In his first year in the NBA, the Boston Celtics guard Jeff Thomas is on track to be one of the league’s top stealsers.
He was the No. 1 pick in the 2016 draft, and since then has been one of three players in NBA history to be named to the All-NBA team three times.
He also leads the league in steals per game at 1.8, according to NBA.com.
Thomas has had his moments, however.
Thomas is averaging 11.8 points per game this season, but he’s made just nine of his 41 three-pointers in the second half, and he’s shot just 35.4 percent from the field.
But that’s where Thomas’ impact can be seen.
He’s shooting just 34.3 percent from behind the arc, and the Celtics are just 4-4 on the road.
Thomas, who had been averaging 17.3 points per contest in his first season in the league, has been limited to 18.7 points and 4.6 assists in the two games he’s played.
He has just six points and five rebounds in the last two games.
In the second quarter, Thomas had seven points, three assists and four rebounds, but it was his fourth straight game with at least seven points and at least three rebounds.
That’s not a huge improvement on his previous four outings, which included 15 points and seven boards in a win over the Utah Jazz on Nov. 14 and an overtime loss at Houston on Nov, 15.
Thomas had 11 points and 10 boards in the first meeting between the Celtics and Jazz, which was the first game in which Thomas played in the postseason.
Thomas was also limited to 13 points and eight boards in two games against the Rockets in the regular season and was 0-for-8 from the floor in the loss.
But the Celtics’ offense is coming together in the rematch.
Thomas said he thinks the Celtics have a good chance to win the series because they’re playing the game the right way, rather than just looking for a lead.
“I think that they’re looking for something,” Thomas said.
“That’s been their mentality all season long, so they’ve been able to keep their composure.
I think that’s the biggest difference in this game.”
Boston is 0-4 in the series with Thomas averaging just 8.4 points and 5.1 assists per game.
Thomas will be joined in the starting lineup in the fourth quarter when he’s expected to start.