Tyrus Thomas signed a 10-day contract with the Memphis Grizzlies out of the D-League and here is a scouting report on his game:
Situation: Thomas was the fourth overall pick in 2006 out of LSU and is widely known for his immediate trade on draft night in exchange for LaMarcus Aldridge. After spending seven seasons in the NBA, Thomas was waived by the Charlotte Bobcats in 2013 and spent the past season away from basketball. He recently returned to the D-League in an attempt to reach the NBA again, which has paid off with a 10-day deal with Memphis. He spent two games with the Iowa Energy at the D-League Showcase and made a good enough impression to earn the Call-Up.
Size/Athleticism: At 6-foot-10, Thomas has a massive wingspan and exceptional length at power forward. He has a wiry frame and decent athleticism for the position. Thomas runs the floor well and still has the physical tools for the NBA.
Ballhandling: Thomas is a good ballhandler for the power forward spot. He can slash to the rim and even led some transition baskets for Iowa. Thomas isn’t a flashy ballhandler, but can drive to the rim or convert one-dribble pull-ups.
Shooting: While Thomas missed all three of his attempts from behind the arc, he did show the ability to hit from mid-range. He was 3-of-5 from 16-24 feet and 2-of-2 from 8-16 feet. Thomas has an unorthodox release, but showed potential as a mid-range shooter. He was also 8-of-11 (72.7%) from the free-throw line.
Interior Game: Thomas didn’t spend much time in the post, but did finish at the basket effectively. He was 5-of-7 from within 8 feet, but had most of his makes slashing to the rim, finishing passes from penetrating guards, or running the floor in transition. Thomas isn’t an old-school type of power forward that plays inside.
Passing: This wasn’t a standout area for Thomas, as he had two assists compared to eight turnovers in two games. He can pass out of double-teams but won’t be a difference maker as a creator.
Defense: As a lengthy power forward, Thomas uses his size as an effective shot blocker. He blocked two shots in both D-League Showcase games and contested everything inside. Thomas can move well enough laterally to defend the pick-and-roll.
Rebounding: Thomas grabbed an impressive 15 rebounds in 53 minutes for Iowa. He contributed five of those boards on the offensive glass, as his length and energy should translate to the NBA. Thomas averaged 4.8 rebounds in 19.8 minutes per game earlier in his NBA career.
Versatility: As a wiry, 6-foot-10 prospect with average bounce, Thomas would be best suited as a power forward. He can be effective as a stretch four, but he’ll need to consistently hit from mid-range to become a threat. Thomas should be a good pick-and-roll player since he can finish on the move or pop for an open jumper.
Final Analysis: The former top five pick obviously has the potential to regain his NBA form and Memphis wasn’t afraid to take a chance with Thomas on a 10-day deal. The Grizzlies had a similar situation with James Johnson last season, as they signed the former first round pick out of the D-League before he eventually blossomed into a rotational player. Thomas has the hunger to prove he can still play at the NBA level and has some experience to add after Memphis traded Tayshaun Prince. If he can play with intensity on both ends of the floor, Thomas should be able to use his length to rebound, block shots, or score over defenders. It’s a low-risk, high-reward signing that could pay off for both sides.