Tag:Tyrus Thomas
Posted on: August 5, 2011 6:45 pm
Edited on: August 6, 2011 1:14 am
 

The EOB Elite 100, 71-80: Young and old alike

Posted by Ben Golliver

grant-hill-old

This is the third segment of the CBSSports.com Eye on Basketball Elite 100, counting down the top-100 players in the NBA. 

Check out the earlier installments: 100-91 | 90-81

If you can play the game of basketball, the NBA will find a place for you, and this segment of CBSSports.com’s Elite 100 underscores that point in fine fashion.

This might blow your mind: Sacramento Kings big man DeMarcus Cousins, ranked No. 77, was born in 1990, just weeks before Phoenix Suns wing Grant Hill showed up on campus for fall semester as a freshman at Duke University. By the time Cousins was in kindergarten, Hill had won two titles as a Blue Devil and was a highly-touted pro prospect, drafted No. 3 overall in 1994. As Cousins finished up elementary school and entered junior high, Hill looked like another talented NBA player robbed of reaching his potential due to injuries. By the time Cousins emerged on the national scene as a highly-ranked high school prospect, Hill was finding rejuvenation in the desert, extending his career and re-inventing his game as a member of the Phoenix Suns. A month or so before Cousins was drafted with the No. 5 pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, Hill was a key piece on a Suns team that made the Western Conference Finals.

As of last season, Cousins was the sixth-youngest player in the NBA at 20 years of age; Hill became the second oldest, one day younger than Chicago Bulls forward Kurt Thomas, after Boston Celtics center Shaquille O’Neal retired earlier this summer.  

The two players contrast in so many ways. Hill graduated from Duke; Cousins went one-and-done at Kentucky. Hill has won sportsmanship awards; Cousins required a babysitter with the Kings and was suspended for fighting with a teammate. Hill hangs with United States President Barack Obama; Cousins has palled around with rapper Drake. Hill no longer has the explosive athleticism that was his calling card but has mastered every last veteran trick; Cousins possesses an incredibly rare combination of size, strength and quickness but has yet to harness his full potential.

Despite those differences both players have found their way to the NBA and to this list. Let’s take a look at who accompanies them here.

80. Grant Hill, F, age 38, Phoenix Suns

2011 Stats: 13.2 points, 4.2 rebounds, 2.5 assists, .8 steals, 48.4 FG%, 14.8 PER

Composite rankings (random order): 78, 73, 87 

The only modern equivalent for Grant Hill’s agelessness is Halle Berry. About to turn 39, Hill has missed just three regular season games in the last three seasons, a remarkable achievement considering he played just 47 combined games from 2000-2002. Hill never achieved his full potential as a player because of injuries, but his legacy won’t be stained because of that. His resolve, resourcefulness and consistency have made him a model teammate and league ambassador for as long as anyone can remember.

Hill still contributes in a variety of ways: scoring fairly efficiently, defending multiple positions and chipping in on the glass. His game is mostly floor-bound these days but that fact makes him potentially productive into his 40s.

79. Tyrus Thomas, F, age 24, Charlotte Bobcats

2011 Stats: 10.2 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.6 blocks, 47.1 FG%, 18.25 PER

Composite rankings (random order):  95, 82, 61

Thomas is a bit of a forgotten man. That can be said for anyone that plays for the Bobcats but is doubly true in his case because he missed a fairly long stretch of last season with a knee injury.

A one-time high lottery pick, Thomas is a guy who is perpetually trying to figure it out. That fact didn’t stop the Bobcats from committing big dollars after acquiring him in a trade from Chicago and it hasn’t stopped him from being an excellent contributor on defense, where he blocks shots with abandon and uses his length to its full advantage. The Bobcats have cleared the decks for next season so Thomas should have every possibility to earn minutes and touches. Remarkably, he’s still just 24 and his best days are certainly ahead of him.  

78. Roy Hibbert, C, age 24, Indiana Pacers

2011 Stats: 12.7 points, 7.5 rebounds, 1.8 blocks, 46.1 FG%, 15.96 PER

Composite rankings (random order): 92, 91, 52

Hibbert is one of the last of a dying breed: A true back-to-the-basket center whose hulking frame and stiff game would probably have been a better fit in the 1990s. As is, he’s a solid, productive player who does what’s expected for a guy his size: rebounds, blocks shots and finishes plays around the rim.

Last season, Hibbert’s third, wasn’t all smooth sailing. He struggled with his shooting and confidence, and performed much better after Jim O’Brien was replaced as head coach by Frank Vogel. His lack of lateral quickness will likely remain an issue for the rest of his career. It’s unlikely Hibbert will ever develop into a star but he’s an excellent cog for a young, developing team like Indiana.

77. DeMarcus Cousins, F, age 20, Sacramento Kings

2011 Stats: 14.1 points, 8.6 rebounds, .8 blocks, 43.0 FG%, 14.62 PER

Composite rankings (random order): 84, 76, 72

Cousins was a top-10 knucklehead last year. He was benched for making a choke sign at an opponent during a free throw attempt. He was thrown off the team plane for fighting with a teammate. He was kicked out of practice. He was fined for undisclosed reasons. He was ejected from a game for shoving Martell Webster during a fracas. The list goes on and on.

There were two bigger concerns than all of that immaturity: turnovers and efficiency. Cousins committed 3.3 turnovers in just 28.5 minutes per game and shot just 43% from the field. It’s not unusual for young big men to deal with those issues, though, and improvement in both categories going forward is a virtual certainty, as Cousins learns how to adjust to the NBA game, NBA officials and figures out how to best use his huge frame and excellent instincts around the basket. Despite his many flaws, Cousins’ size and skill give him a chance to be a top-25 NBA player far more quickly than you might expect. The talent and potential are there, lurking beneath the surface.

76. DeMar DeRozan, F, age 21, Toronto Raptors

2011 Stats: 17.2 points, 3.8 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.0 steals, 46.7 FG%, 14.52 PER

Composite rankings (random order): 80, 49, unranked

We’re supposed to keep the rankings anonymous but in this case I feel compelled to confess: I did not rank DeRozan in the top-100 nor do I think he belongs here. He was an inefficient scorer with no range playing on a terrible team last season, one of the least valuable things you can be.

Still, his presence on this list speaks to his upward career trajectory. DeRozan used his ridiculous leaping and finishing abilities to double his scoring average from his rookie year last season, putting up 17.2 points per game. He also boasts the physical tools – size, length, quickness – to be a plus-defender. He’s really held back by his lack of three-point range, though, and he will continue to be an incomplete offensive player until his spot-up shooting is at least passable. His highlight reel capability, solid personality and pure marketability make him a bright spot on a roster that needs them. His hard-working, positive approach on a day-in and day-out basis make him especially intriguing to watch develop over the next 3-5 years.

75. Shawn Marion, F, age 33, Dallas Mavericks

2011 Stats: 12.5 points, 6.9 rebounds, 1.4 assists, .9 steals, 52.0 FG%, 17.09 PER

Composite rankings (random order): 67, unranked, 58

2011 was such a dream season for Marion that he will forgive us for vastly underrating him on this list. A do-everything forward long known best for his unorthodox and downright hideous jumper, Marion was a crucial piece to the Mavericks championship puzzle.

Marion was big on both ends, using excellent shot selection and an underrated post game to get his points, while rebounding at a solid clip for his position. He shined brightest defensively as he was part of a corps of Mavericks defenders that limited some of the league’s elite scorers during the posteason: Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant and LeBron James, to name a few. His unwavering confidence was crucial, too, especially when the Mavericks fell behind the Heat in the Finals. He never gave up and neither did Dallas.

74. Anderson Varejao, F, Age 28, Cleveland Cavaliers

2011 Stats: 9.1 points, 9.7 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.2 blocks, 52.8 FG%, 15.21 PER

Composite rankings (random order): 76, 56, 92

Varejao became a permanent starting player for the first time in his career after LeBron James, Shaquille O’Neal and Shaquille O’Neal departed during the summer of 2010. He rose to the challenge nicely, posting career highs in points, rebounds and blocks until a foot injury prematurely ended his season.

Best known as an energy guy, Varejao has double-double potential now that he’s in his prime age years and playing on a roster that needs every ounce of production that he can provide. Just about everyone would like to see him traded to a contender so his hustle, defense and heady play can impact postseason games. The Cavaliers, to their credit, realize the asset they have and seem to be hoping he can help lead their rebuild.

73. Danilo Gallinari, F, Age 22, Denver Nuggets

2011 Stats: 15.6 points, 4.9 rebounds, 1.7 assists, .8 steals, 41.4 FG%, 15.71 PER

Composite rankings (random order): 99, 37, 86

The young Italian was a key piece in the package that landed All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony in New York. He’s a long, silky perimeter player with shot-making ability and a desire to deliver in the clutch. Given his height, 6-foot-10, his rebounding contributions are not overwhelming and he’ll need to continue improving to approach his ceiling as a player.

Gallinari is tantalizing, more than anything, given the fluidity of his play at his size. There are plenty of questions to be answered in Denver – especially concerning the future of Nene and J.R. Smith – but Gallinari’s youth provides hope should there be widespread defections in free agency. He won’t ever replace Anthony but he won’t cost nearly as much, won’t demand as many shots and he is unlikely to hijack the franchise for the foreseeable future. That package is worth something, for sure.

72. Devin Harris, G, Age 28, Utah Jazz

2011 Stats: 15.2 points, 7.1 assists, 1.0 steals, 42.2 FG%, 17.22 PER

Composite rankings (random order): 66, 69, 86

A big guard with a solid skillset, Harris needs to shake the “loser” label and questions about his durability that developed during his time in New Jersey. He was perceived as the best player on a 12-win team and that’s never, ever a good thing for a player’s legacy and reputation.

Still, Harris gets a fresh start in Utah, as he was traded to the Jazz in the deal that sent All-Star guard Deron Williams to the Nets. Utah is clearly in a rebuilding, find-itself phase now that Williams is gone and it’s no guarantee that Harris, who is theoretically entering his prime, is necessarily their point guard of the future. We will learn a lot about Harris in 2011-2012.

71. Jameer Nelson, G, Age 29, Orlando Magic

2011 Stats: 13.1 points, 6.0 assists, 1.0 steals, 44.6%, 15.47 PER

Composite rankings (random order): 72, 82, 66

Nelson has a lot going for himself. He’s tough, scrappy, productive, has three-point range and is on a reasonable contract. Nelson can beat his man off the dribble for the drive-and-kick or stretch the defense as a knock-down shooter. He isn’t a star, though, and that’s what Orlando needed last year. Indeed, a second star is what they need next year too if center Dwight Howard is to remain in town.

Nelson's turnovers and his lack of size and elite athleticism prevent him from really serving as a game-changer offensively and occasionally make him a liability defensively. Right now, Nelson falls into the fairly wide category of “too talented to dump, not good enough to get real value in return.”

Posted on: January 20, 2011 8:59 pm
Edited on: January 20, 2011 10:03 pm
 

Tyrus Thomas to have surgery, out up to 8 weeks

Posted by Royce Young

Just when things started to turn for the Bobcats and more specifically, Tyrus Thomas, something bad happened.

Thomas will be sidelined up to eight weeks after MRI revealed a tear of the lateral meniscus tonight, the team announced.

(An aside: How many players are going to tear a meniscus this season? Is it just me or is Thomas like the 50th guy to do it?)

Since Paul Silas took over for Larry Brown, not only has the team been playing better, but Thomas has been seeing more consistent playing time. Somehow, I feel the two are connected. After averaging right at 20 minutes per game the first two months of the season, Thomas has averaged 25.4 in January with Silas at the helm.

As a result, he's contributed heavily to Charlotte's 5-4 start to the month, which has put the Bobcats back in the Eastern playoff discussion and potentially Thomas into the Sixth Man of the Year talk. He was finally being freed.

Except now, he's out for possibly two months. How cruel things can be.

What does this mean for Charlotte though? Well, more Boris Diaw and more Derrick Brown. The Bobcats might even experiment a little with Gerald Wallace at the 4 and move Dominic McGuire to small forward. Or even Stephen Jackson to the 3 and Gerald Henderson in at shooting guard.

They have a few options, but for a team that's already paper thin inside, losing Thomas for an extended stretch is really a killer.

The other option is for Charlotte to just blow it all up. There have been talks about the Bobcats shopping Stephen Jackson and Wallace for young assets and picks and maybe this is the nail in the coffin for Michael Jordan to go ahead and do it. The team has legit playoff hopes (they're actually in seventh at 17-24 after beating Philly Thursday) but without Thomas for two months, it becomes a bit of an uphill climb.

I mean, we're talking about a team that starts Kwame Brown at center and has Nazr Mohammed backing him up. The other backup, DeSagana Diop is out for the season with an achilles injury. So the Bobcats aren't deep inside.

If Charlotte had any visions of making a run at the eight-seed in the East, those hopes took a major hit with this injury to Thomas. It can be overcame, but some players are really going to have to step up.
Otherwise, maybe it's time to set dynamite to the roster.
Posted on: January 17, 2011 11:23 am
 

Tyrus Thomas suspended one game for elbow

Posted by Royce Young

Tyrus Thomas of the Charlotte Bobcats has been suspended one game without pay for his Flagrant Foul, Penalty Two against Emeka Okafor of the New Orleans Hornets.

The incident, in which Thomas made elbow contact to Okafor’s head and was ejected following the Flagrant Foul, Penalty Two call, occurred in the fourth quarter of the Bobcats 88-81 loss on Saturday to the Hornets in Charlotte.

Watching the play a few times, it's clear to me that Thomas's elbow was anything but intentional. Not to say Thomas doesn't deserve the Flagranat Two, but Thomas looks to just be clearing a rebound. You're taught that technique at all levels of basketball. Not the swinging your elbow into someone's face part, but you're taught to grab the ball, pull both elbows up and use that to keep people from swiping at the ball. Thomas made the mistake of turning his elbow into a weapon.

Thomas swung slightly, which is bad, but it really looked to me that he didn't know that Okafor was in the area. It kind of looks like -- at least to me -- that Thomas was just turning up court to make an outlet pass when Okafor stuck his face in the path of Thomas' elbow.

My point is, I don't think it was a dirty play by Thomas at all. He immediately walked up to Okafor and apologized and Okafor accepted it. Rules are rules and any time you make contact with an elbow to someone's face like this, the Flagrant Two hammer comes down, meaning an ejection and suspension.

Then again, there could've been intent behind it. That's why even with some gray area, the league is making the right call for a suspension. There's no room for high elbows to faces, even if it was unintentional. It's a dangerous play and swinging an elbow just isn't smart.

Good thing this didn't happen to Chris Bosh or he'd probably be filing a police report right now. Think of his family!

Thomas  will  serve  his  suspension  today  when  the  Bobcats  visit  the Philadelphia 76ers at Wells Fargo Center.

Posted on: December 3, 2010 3:33 pm
Edited on: December 3, 2010 3:37 pm
 

It's about time to free Tyrus Thomas too

Posted by Royce Young

Remember how everyone jumped all over the Free Kevin Love bandwagon? Remember how outraged people were when they'd look at a box score and see 24 minutes next to Love name, along with 19 points, 14 rebounds? Remember how when he got his chance at consistent playing time, he joined a list that had Moses Malone on it with a 31-point, 31-rebound performance?

Well, where's the outrage for Tyrus Thomas?

The Charlotte Bobcats forward is averaging just 21.3 minutes a night, yet putting up career-best numbers in points per game, field goal percentage and free throw percentage. His blocks and rebounds are just barely off his career-highs. And yet, Larry Brown continues to give Thomas erratic playing time, despite the fact that the pillowy Boris Diaw and Nazr Mohammed are the Bobcats starting frontcourt.

Actually, this might make even less sense than sitting Kevin Love.

So of course if Thomas is sitting, it must be defense, right? Brown coaches defense and that's what the Bobcats do so well. But Brett Hainline of Queen City Hoops had a great look at it:
If it is defense that is forcing Larry’s hand – my numbers can’t find it. With Tyrus on the court this year, the Bobcats have allowed an efficiency of 104.0 and it goes to 106.5 with him off the court. Looks solid for him. Ok – how about individually? Tyrus is among the team leader’s in slowing down his opponent, allowing 1.8 fewer points per 100 possessions to his man than expected. Nazr and Derrick Brown bring up the rear on this at 6.7 and 5.1 more per 100, and Kwame is only slightly in front of Tyrus at -2.4. For allowed PER, Tyrus has surrendered a PER of 1.2 points below expected, with Nazr at 6.75 above, Derrick at 5.19 above and Kwame at 0.59 below.
The most minutes Thomas has seen this season is 34. His numbers that night: 26 points, 11 rebounds, three assists and four blocks. In games where Thomas has seen over 25 minutes (four games), he's averaging 22.5 ppg, 8.3 rpg and 2.0 bpg. Thomas has a PER of 23.56, which ranks him 11th in the entire league. And third among power forwards.

Yet he's only getting 22 minutes a game and on some nights, as low as 14? How in the world does this make any sense for a team that's 6-12 and is desperately looking for an offense spark anywhere it can find it?

Thomas is only 24 years old and could realistically be a centerpiece in Charlotte's future. His game is still raw, but clearly he's developing. Despite seeing the most erratic playing time of his career, he's producing his best season yet.

Larry Brown is considered one of the great coaches in the NBA, but this almost just seems like some kind of power play with Thomas. It's like Brown has his rotation set and that's what he's going with. He will not be persuaded by some young player that's putting up a nice season. Boris Diaw and his doughy body must play!

For comparison's sake, Diaw is getting 35.6 minutes a game and averaging 12.6 points and 4.8 rebounds a night. So it's not like Diaw is simply playing so awesome that Thomas can't find the floor. Again, Charlotte's interior is made up of Diaw, Mohammed, Derrick Brown, DeSagana Diop and Kwame Brown. How is Tyrus Thomas having trouble finding the floor with that group around him?

And it's not like the Bobcats are an especially exciting team either. Nobody on that roster really fires up the fanbase. I don't think anyone is flooding the gates to see Eduardo Najera take a charge. Thomas, along with Gerald Wallace, are the two most athletic, talented and exciting players on the team. If anything else, people might enjoy watching Thomas swat a few shots or dunk over someone. Forget the fact that he's playing the best basketball of his young career. He's at least something to watch!

It's one thing when you're winning. It's another when you're losing and not playing your most talented players. Maybe Thomas is in Brown's doghouse for some reason. Maybe this is some kind of player development tactic. Or maybe it's just stupidity.
Posted on: September 22, 2010 11:24 am
Edited on: September 22, 2010 3:26 pm
 

Preseason Primer: Charlotte Bobcats

Posted by Matt Moore

Charlotte lost its starting point guard and its starting center, and didn't really add any players of huge significance.So what's going to get them through this year? Larry Brown and defense, the formula proven to work. The big thing to watch with the Cats this season is if they make another trade. Larry Brown has opted for a trade to his roster every year in a big way, and despite initial criticisms, the deals have been huge successes for the most part. We continue our Preseason Primers with a stop at the Cats. 

Training camp site:
  UNC-Wilmington

Training camp starts:  Sept. 28 

Key additions:  Shaun Livingston (free agency), Matt Carroll (trade), Eduardo Najera (trade), Dominic McGuire (free agency), Kwame Brown (free agency)

Key subtractions:  Raymond Felton (free agency), Tyson Chandler (trade), Alexis Ajinca (trade), Theo Ratliff (free agency)

Likely starting lineup:  D.J. Augustin (PG), Stephen Jackson (SG), Gerald Wallace (SF), Boris Diaw (Boris Diaw position), Nazr Mohammed (C)


Player to watch:
 Tyrus Thomas. Thomas is at yet another "time to show what he can do" moment (seemingly the ninth of his career). With the new contract the Bobcats rewarded himself with, he's no longer the young'n working on becoming legit. He's got to actually develop and identity. He doesn't need to be Josh Smith with his overall athletic dynamism or a premier lockdown defender. But he's got to develop a set role on the floor that translates with his abilities. And stop shooting that mid-range jumper! But if he's able to effectively translate that athleticism he still has into production, consistently , it'll go a long way to putting him in a higher tier among NBA forwards. Time for Larry Brown to work his Magic again.

Chemistry quiz:
It's a delicate act the Cats have put together. Gerald Wallace is the strong, mostly silent type. Captain Jack is very much not. Tyrus Thomas is surly and brash. D.J. Augustin is well-natured but has bore the brunt of Larry Brown's particular attitude towards young point guards. The Cats have a fascinating cast of characters, and that's before you factor the possibility of Antoine Walker making it to camp. The Cats though don't really have many chemistry quirks. They have the alpha dog in Stephen Jackson, a franchise mainstay leader in Gerald Wallace, and a roster that understands it has to buy what Larry Brown's selling or they'll never see the light of day.

Injury watch:
 The Bobcats loaded up on centers last year, only to watch all of them wind up injured and missing time. Gerald Wallace bounced back from a disastrous 2009-2010 season that featured a collapsed lung and missed only six games last season. Boris Diaw has, ahem, conditioning issues. And, oh, yeah, their backup point guard suffered one of the most devastating knee injuries in recent NBA history. So they've got a number of things to keep a trainer's eye on.

Camp battles:
 Point guard is going to be a messy, messy affair without Raymond Felton around. D.J. Augustin has been the player the Cats had hoped would overtake Felton for years, and he's never gotten there. Now he's got no real choice and if he doesn't get it together this year their clock may run out on him. Shaun Livingston has a great opportunity to really push for a starting gig, but his body hasn't been the same since the injury. 

Power forward's another interesting spot. Diaw has the best skill set, but Tyrus Thomas has the new contract and the potential. That one could get messy as Thomas has become more authoritative this summer about his career. He's no longer unsure of himself now that he's out of Chicago.

Biggest strength:
 Defense, plain and simple. The Cats were best in defensive efficiency last season , and that's how they made the playoffs. The Cats managed to work effectively in both man situations and man-help. They communicate well, have athletic players all over the floor, and gun it 100% of effort, the most important element. The want-to is there and that's how they win games. Losing Raymond Felton will do some damage in that regard, as will their question marks at center. But they have enough talent, and most importantly, they have Larry Brown at the helm.

Glaring weakness:
 Talent. The Bobcats brought in an offensive weapon to save their putrid scoring last year in Stephen Jackson, but he's no spring chicken. Gerald Wallace is a tremendous talent, but not great at creating his own shot. And other than that, the Cats don't have a single consistent offensive weapon, and they are far from having a superstar. They've elected to build through trades, and that means improving value each time, but also watering down the talent level. Unless Gerald Henderson makes a huge leap, the Cats won't change much in that regard this season.
Posted on: July 9, 2010 5:08 pm
 

Bobcats sign Tyrus Thomas

Posted by Matt Moore
Ken Berger reports sources have told CBSSports.com that the Charlotte Bobcats have signed free agent Tyrus Thomas to a 5-year, $40 million deal. The move is not altogether surprising, as the Cats had invested quite a bit to land the mercurial power forward and need depth at the position.

While Thomas struggled mightily for minutes in Chicago despite putting up stellar per-minute defensive numbers, Larry Brown uncharacteristically gave Thomas extended minutes during the Charlotte playoff run, enabling his athleticism and using it as the raw counter to Boris Diaw's finesse game. The Bobcats' defensive philosophy is centered around efficient and hammering rebounding, something Thomas does well.

The question at that price tag is if Thomas has the mental makeup to be a full-time starter. Despite his considerable athleticism and an improving jumper, Thomas has long minutes of looking utterly lost on the floor, often playing recklessly and not working within the rhythm of the game. He also tends to hijack possessions routinely and look for opportunities for his shot, which still needs a lot of work.

This move also in no way shape or form locks Thomas into Charlotte long-term. The Bobcats have shown a perplexing commitment to improving their team almost solely through trades, often after signing the outgoing players to long deals. See: Okafor, Emeka. The Cats have a vested interest in Thomas but if he regresses for the thirty third time, you can bet he'll find himself on the trading block again. He's been rewarded for the work he did last season with this opportunity. If he's ever going to become the player his athleticism suggests he could be, he needs to start now.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com