How Celtics’ Isaiah Thomas gives up a foot without getting blocked

Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas drives to the basket against Atlanta Hawks forward Paul Millsap. (Charles Krupa/AP)

Boston Celtics guard and 2016 NBA all-star Isaiah Thomas is five-foot-nine—just a little off the average NBA height of six-foot-eight. And yet in his four-year career, he’s hit better than 50 percent of his shots at the rim and has been one of the best in the NBA at getting to the line. We wanted his secret.

“PEOPLE ALWAYS ASK ME, ‘How do you finish in the paint with those big guys?’ That’s all I know how to do. I mean, ever since I was a young boy, I’ve always been the smallest guy. I’ve always had to make adjustments and just try to be unpredictable—to give the defence something different every time.

“Big guys, they think they can block everything anyway, so my mindset is if I do get blocked, I was supposed to. As a little guy, you’re going to get hit, you’re going to get banged and put on the floor. But I’ve been in the weight room for a while and gotten strong enough to sustain that; to hit the ground and get back up knowing that I’m never going to stop.”

This story originally appeared as part of the How-To package in the March issue of Sportsnet magazine.

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