Tyrus Thomas is a pretty unique player in the league. He came in as a shotblocker and garbage-man extraordinaire with tenacity, energy, rebounding effort and lots of intangibles. He came in also as a 19 year old. His comparisons that I've heard have been Shawn Kemp, Stromile Swift and a few others. Out of curiousity, I looked on databasebasketball, the site that used to be basketball-reference.com. Their number one career similarity comparison was a player who played one year in the ABA, then the rest in the NBA.
His name was Dan Roundfield, aka Dr. Rounds. I've never heard of him, but maybe someone on BAB has. He was 6'8" 205lbs, and played 11 seasons in both leagues, averaging 15ppg and 10rpg over his career.
He entered the league at about 22, and Tyrus is not yet 22, so obviously it's not a perfect comparison, though certainly preparation for the NBA can be more accelerated than it used to be. But the more I think about it, the more I realize that we're really expecting a lot from Tyrus in such a short period of time.
In fact, Mr. Roundfield had a very similar rookie campaign to the one that Tyrus is in right now. This makes me think that a player like Tyrus, while certainly his per-minute contributions are positive, might benefit from a gradual transition, but truthfully only depends on the minutes given. Boylan is quite the dumbie, and Tyrus should be playing more, mostly because the success he is having on a limited basis seems to be consistent, even with more minutes.
Mr. Roundfield's career, when used as a comparison, bears this out quite nicely. After a rookie campaign of:
- 11.4mpg 5.1ppg 3.9rpg
Tyrus's rookie campaign:
- 13.2mpg 5.2ppg 3.7rpg
Mr. Roundfield's first year EFF:
- 6.27 in 11.4mpg (22.00 EFF/40mpg)
For reference, Tyrus's EFF last year:
- 6.77 in 13.2mpg (20.30 EFF/40mpg)
Mr. Roundfield's minutes increased in the NBA next year to:
- 27mpg 14ppg 8rpg
for the next several years, until he was 28 he maintained or improved EFF(not a per-minute measure) every year:
- 19.02 19.90 21.25 21.26 22.84 23.20
- 20.7 30.7 31.7 32.0 33.8 36.5
for 40 minute averages of:
- 36.75 25.92 26.82 26.58 27.02 25.42
His second year performance was quite remarkable(Consider that Jordan's highest EFF/40mpg was <37), but that might suggest that he was unscouted in the NBA, or played with better teammates, or another reason. After that season, he was very consistent and pretty impressive.
Skill-wise, I'm unaware of the similarities, but the statistics seem to suggest that if Tyrus gets more minutes, and develops like Mr. Roundfield did(big IF), that he won't be a superstar(Though he was a 3-time All-Star), but will be a solid rebounder who can score a little. In fact, Roundfield was pretty impressive to Moses Malone, and should be considered one of the better second round picks, considering his 3 AS appearances(Link to Wikipedia Article.
Excerpt:"Roundfield earned a reputation as a strong rebounder and tenacious defender, and during his career he was named to five NBA All-Defensive teams and three All-Star teams."
Sounds good to me!
Pat on the back for Tyrus:
Tyrus has improved his skill-set and confidence(though Boylan has likely ruined the latter). He took over a game or two, and developed a vastly improved jump shot over the offseason. I think that next year, with a new coach and increased familiarity and security(starting job, too) with his frontcourt teammate, he will flourish.
Given that the offseason has started without a Boston Massacre III, I started thinking ahead already. From my perspective, the biggest upside is the frontcourt, and the biggest liability is the contracts of the frontcourt, though Kirk has been impressive lately, and Gordon could get a favorable sign-and-trade in the offseason. If anyone has any info on the player I used as a comparison, I'd love to learn more about how they compare, skill-wise.