Tyrus Thomas could bring a much needed rebounding, shot-blocker that could energize the crowd and his teammates with thunderous dunks. He could replace the missing monster J-Rich dunks that brought the crowd out of my seats at the Oracle. Pietrus is the closest thing we have now that Richardson is gone, but now, we will likely let Pietrus walk to another team. Let's reload and take a gamble on a uber athletic difference maker on the defensive end that is built to fly in Nellie-ball.
2006-07 season: After a slow start that included suffering a broken nose in his first pro game, Thomas got his bearings at midseason and showed he'll be a force to be reckoned with in coming seasons. Selected fourth overall on draft day and then traded to the Bulls, Thomas' physical skills are something to behold, and he could be an absolutely dominant defensive player in a very short time .
Consider this: As a 20-year-old rookie, Thomas had the fourth-best rate of blocks per minute in the NBA, and the best among power forwards. The three guys ahead of him were bigger, veteran centers (Marcus Camby, Alonzo Mourning, and Joel Przybilla).
Now here's the other half of the equation: Thomas also had the second-best rate of steals per minute at his position. Only Charlotte's Gerald Wallace was ahead of him; Thomas was the top-ranked player 6-9 or taller, and the only one to crack the top 25 overall. Once he plays more extended minutes and these skills become more apparent in his per-game averages, his ability as a defensive disruptor should get a lot more notice.
In the meantime, Thomas will have to learn to control his offensive impulses. As you might expect from a player this young (especially one as cocky as Thomas), he tried to do a lot of things he couldn't. Thomas tried 26 long 2-point jumpers and made only three of them; on non-layup 2-pointers, Thomas' 24.3-percent mark was the third-worst in the league. That might not be a problem except those shots comprised a quarter of his field-goal attempts.
Scouting report: A freak of an athlete, Thomas is a great finisher around the rim but needs to learn to rein in his desire to take opponents off the dribble, a facet of his game on which his skills are decidedly unrefined. Thomas had the third-worst turnover ratio among power forwards last season, something that shouldn't happen for a player whose game is large based on the catch-and-dunk.
He also needs to get way better at the free-throw line, where his 60.6-percent mark all but negated one of the league's highest rates of free-throw attempts per field-goal attempt (fourth among power forwards). Down the road, he's going to need to add strength to his 215-pound frame so he can add a post game to his repertoire.
But in the short-term, adding strength will be more of an asset on defense, as his thin frame means he can be pushed around under the basket. More muscle would also help on the glass -- Thomas had the 17th-best rebound rate at his position, but with added strength he'll crack the top 10 easily.
2007-08 outlook: Thomas is a prodigious talent and in a couple years he could be unbelievable. The dilemma for Chicago is that the Bulls don't have the luxury of letting him play through his mistakes. The organization is in win-now mode, and Thomas' youthful indiscretions at the offensive end can make it tough to leave him on the court at times.
On the other hand, athletes like this don't grow on trees. If Thomas blows up this season and takes over the starting power forward spot, it could be the catalyst Chicago needs to get over the hump in the East. He'll battle Joakim Noah, Joe Smith and Andres Nocioni for minutes at the power forward spot, but on talent the position is his to lose.
Most similar at age: Shawn Kemp
Al HarringtonSalary: $8,425,625 Years Remaining: 2
PTS: 13.6 REB: 5.4 AST: 1.6 PER: 15.70
Kosta PerovicSalary: $1,800,000 Years Remaining: 3
PTS: 1.4 REB: 1.9 AST: 0.1 PER: 10.36
Outgoing Players: Larry Hughes, Tyrus Thomas
Golden State Warriors
Larry HughesSalary: $12,000,084 Years Remaining: 2
PTS: 12.2 REB: 3.4 AST: 2.7 PER: 11.98
Tyrus ThomasSalary: $3,505,320 Years Remaining: 2
PTS: 6.8 REB: 4.6 AST: 1.2 PER: 14.69
Obtained with a trade exception
Outgoing Players: Al Harrington, Kosta Perovic
Chicago Bulls 2009-2010
With the Bulls looking like they are going to select Derrick Rose with the #1 pick, they would be more than happy to find any takers for Larry Hughes' huge contract because of the logjam and duplication of talent at the PG position. They also need to get rid of as much salary as possible if they want to resign Gordon and Deng. Tyrus Thomas will be the incentive to get the Warriors to deal.
Harrington will give them more firepower from the 3 point arc. The Bulls were 23rd in the league in 3 pointers made. Perovic gives the Bulls additional depth at Center.
Add Jason Hendrix (Nikola Pekovic or Devon Hardin) at #39 and the Bulls look mighty good for the 2009-2010 season.
Golden State Warriors 2009-2010
Warriors now have an athletic big in Tyrus Thomas that specializes in rebounding, blocking shots, and finishing at the rim. As you could see in his 'Hotspots' chart, he's an improving midrange shooter. He is a great instinctual raw talent that could thrive in our system. If you loosen the reigns a bit, he could explode and finally live up to his lofty expectations and potential.
In addition, Hughes comes in for added backcourt depth, giving Baron relief and backing up the SG position as well. He'll expire in the Summer of 2010, so the salary commitment isn't crippling. Who knows, if Hughes can stay healthy, he could be a good backcourt mate to run alongside Ellis once Baron is gone.
We give up Harrington, a perimeter oriented big, but we could replace his outside shooting through the draft. Word on the street is that Harrington is tired of being Nelson's whipping boy and wants out of Golden State.
Draft Kosta Koufos at #14.
Draft Pat Calathes at #49.
Resign Ellis, Biedrins, Azubuike, Barnes, Croshere, and Watson.
Sign Francisco Elson using part of the MLE.
The Warriors will have one of the most athletic front courts in all of the NBA with Wright, Thomas, and Biedrins. All are athletic enough to excel as big-men in Nelli-ball. And the three-some will bring excitement and swagger back to the bay. Koufos gives them a 7 footer with excellent skills and a legitimate perimeter threat. He'd be a great change of pace big that could play alongside any of the three other bigs.
Tyrus Thomas Highlights
Tyrus Thomas Mix
Larry Hughes Mix
The Real Kosta Koufos Highlight Video