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(most) Everybody loves Tyrus

[Except Paul Ladewski (or more his headline editor) who tries to compare the relative draft value of Tyrus and Jason Maxiell, despite the fact that Maxiell is 3-1/2 years older. Although I do think Maxiell is pretty damned good, and balances out the Pistons' otherwise decrepit front line. But I digress...]

There's a difference between 'energy' player, and 'dunk on your head' player. The former implies that anyone could do it if they gave the effort. And Tyrus Thomas isn't just anyone.

And since I find box scores as entertaining as highlights, here's the last 3 games for Tyrus:

26 8 3-9 2-5 2 6 8 3 1 3 0 3
39 27 9-11 9-10 2 6 8 1 3 3 1 2
27 13 5-9 3-4 6 4 10 1 1 1 3 1

What's even better than the production is seeing the lack of mistakes. Tyrus is obviously learning quickly on the job, gaining minutes by reducing his fouls and turnovers. That's a big credit to both him and Scott Skiles. I thought Dan Bernstein made a great point last week when he cited Tyrus' development as evidence that flew in the face of the conventional wisdom that Skiles can't coach the 'typical' NBA athlete. Tyrus may have shown immaturity early this season, and most of us have questioned Skiles' allocation of playing time to him, but I have to give them each credit because the results are there: Tyrus has become a contributor just in time for the playoffs.

And the blessing in disguise may have been the injury to Andres Nocioni, who's weeks-long absence opened up playing time for Tyrus. Now that he may come back soon, will that change? Quoteth the Skiles:

"I went to Tyrus immediately and said, 'OK, I'm going to try to get you 20 minutes a game, in that area, 20-plus. Be ready.' And I was able to know that I could promise him that and not go back on that promise. Now Nocioni is going to come back here at some point, and Tyrus has proven himself to be a capable player. But we miss Nocioni from a spacing standpoint -- his three-point shooting, his toughness. He leads our team in taking charges, just a bunch of little things. It's something, hopefully, within the next 10 days, [Nocioni] suits up for a game and we have a little bit of time to figure it out before we actually get into a series."

Now, this team (and Tyrus) isn't good enough now where I'd suggest getting a good player like Nocioni back is somehow going to screw things up. While I sometimes roll my eyes at Noc love, that was mostly out of disagreement over his perceived role on the team. But while losing him wasn't the deathblow that his adulators would've imagined, it did reveal that he's still needed: this bench sucks without him.

Nocioni's injury coupled with moving Ben Gordon to the starting lineup exposed a gaping wound in the preseason idea that this team was deep. With Duhon, Griffin, and Thomas they may be deep with defenders, but Skiles is right about needing Noc's shooting. But where I didn't want him to shoot so damned much to take away shots from Gordon, Hinrich, and Deng, the team could use him to come off the bench in spots to provide shots when those players are on the bench. I've seen too many 2nd quarters lately where Malik Allen is the secondary option on the court.

So I wouldn't see it as Noc taking minutes from Thomas, but instead from Allen or Khryapa. I want Noc back, but in that role. Because his old one has been taken by Tyrus Thomas.