isaiah thomas has defied all odds from the moment he became an NBA player. He was picked last in the 2011 draft despite almost no one believing in the 5-ft-8-in point guard. But the smallest player in the league has showed he has one of the biggest hearts. Through effort and perseverance, Thomas was able to will himself to become an All-Star last season and finish fifth in the MVP race. He averaged 28.9 points, 5.9 assists, and 2.7 rebounds per game.

Thomas excelled with Celtics

Thomas led the Boston Celtics to the first seed of the Eastern Conference, a conference that was dominated year-after-year by the Cleveland Cavaliers [VIDEO].

His strength was further proven when Thomas lost his sister in a tragic car accident during the playoffs. Thomas was still able to gather himself and perform at a high level during the playoffs.

A hip injury ended his playoff trip earlier than he wished, but Thomas will be ready again next season to show that last season was not a fluke. But Thomas will also be entering an important season in his career. It is his final year of his contract with the Celtics. He will need to prove that he deserves a max contract extension.

Thomas says he is a max player

Thomas certainly believes in himself and his value. Thomas responded to the Boston Herald's questions about his future at his annual basketball clinic at BU on Saturday.

“Very confident,” he said when asked about how confident he was that he would be landing a max contract next summer.

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“I deserve it. I put the work in, and you can put me down against any guard in the NBA. … My numbers are up there with the best players in the world, and my team is winning. So, I mean, you have to reward that." Thomas would like to remain a Celtic, and Danny Ainge knows that, but Thomas also acknowledged that the NBA is a business and that both sides will ultimately do what is best for their own interests.

How far can the Celtics go with Thomas?

But Isaiah Thomas cannot change the fact that he is an undersized 28-year-old point guard who is a defensive liability. How can far can the Celtics, or any team for that matter, go with such a player as their primary star and leader? So far, the Eastern Conference Finals are the Celtics' ceiling, and it does not look like this will change next year. The Celtics still need major upgrades if they want to overthrow the Cavaliers.

The Celtics need to make a decision soon. Should they re-sign Thomas, or should they go in a different direction? The Celtics certainly have the assets to make a blockbuster trade that could elevate their team in a significant manner.

The free agent class of 2018 will also be on their minds.

Boston could choose to hand the reins of the team to a point guard like Russell Westbrook or Chris Paul, or to the likes of Paul George [VIDEO] or DeMarcus Cousins. If they want a new leader and face of the franchise, then it would be more beneficial to trade Thomas this year and get value in return.

The point guard position is the one that is most loaded with talent in the NBA. Every game, the opposing point guard can usually score at will against Thomas. What is also true is that Thomas can also score at will against anybody.

However, championship teams are built on defense first, and that is something Thomas simply cannot help with. In addition, NBA history has showed us that undersized guards usually fade away when they surpass 30 years of age. Should the Celtics give up that kind of money, and the consequent cap room, to re-sign a player who could have already played his best basketball?