Former Boston Celtics All-Star Kevin Garnett turned 40 on Thursday. Earlier this week, current Celtics All-Star Isaiah Thomas reaffirmed that he desires to play until the same age.
Following his exit interview with the Celtics earlier this month, Thomas detailed how he's prepared to change his diet in hopes of prolonging his NBA career. During his media tour at the draft lottery on Tuesday night, Thomas repeated that desire and also detailed some other areas of his game he plans to work on this offseason.
"I’m not that old, but the greatest players, the best players always took care of their bodies the best," the 27-year-old Thomas said after his exit interview. "You look at older guys like Ray Allen. Not to go that far to take care of my body -- because he’s a little crazy with that -- but I just want to play at a high level for a long time.
"I know guys like Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant, you’ve got to take care of your body. That’s half the battle of performing out there on the floor and I think this is a big summer for me to start doing that. I know it’s not gonna be overnight, but to start transforming my body, eating great, getting a lot of rest and making a foundation for the rest of my career."
During an appearance on Sirius XM NBA Radio on Tuesday, Thomas added, "I want to change my diet, eat the right way, eat more healthy to prolong my career. I want to try to play until I’m 40. That’s my goal. That’s the biggest thing for me, to take care of my body and transform my body into something that eats right and puts the best things inside my body because I know I need my body. I hit the ground a lot, man, and my body is hurting."
Thomas spent much of last summer working on more creative ways to generate shots, particularly after the Cleveland Cavaliers bottled him up during the 2015 playoffs. Thomas has some big efforts against the Atlanta Hawks in this year's postseason, but still sounded like a player hellbent on finding ways to prevent opposing squads from limiting him.
"Just becoming a better shooter, man," Thomas told Sirius XM NBA radio. "Not just spot-up shots, but off-the-dribble 3-pointers. I did that a lot this year, but I didn’t shoot a great percentage, so that’s something that I want to get better at.
"And, just being a student of the game, I like how Steph Curry, he can pass with either hand off the pick-and-roll, and I think that’s big for a guy that teams like to trap and try to get the ball out of their hands. I’m going to be working on my right-hand passes and just passes out of double-teams and finding little things to get better at.
"Everybody always says they want to be a more complete player. I just want to find the little bits and pieces and really make it come together."
The NBA's tracking data shows that Thomas shot 33.5 percent (78 of 233) on pull-up 3-pointers this season. He shot almost an identical number of catch-and-shoot 3-pointers (222) but connected on 38.7 percent of that variety.
"This summer is big for me," Thomas said. "Like I said, transforming my body, getting into the best shape possible and coming back and having another All-Star year."