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Detroit Pistons’ Khyri Thomas making case for minutes after injury riddled start to career

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Second-round draft picks generally don’t carry high expectations when entering the NBA. But the Detroit Pistons thought highly of Khyri Thomas’ potential in 2018.

Dwane Casey’s takeaways from Detroit Pistons bubble workouts

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They sent two future second-round picks to the Philadelphia Sixers to acquire Thomas (picked 38th overall) before taking a player with similar strengths in Bruce Brown four picks later. 

Brown has since solidified himself as a rotation player, while injuries have prevented Thomas from establishing a consistent role. An injury-depleted roster enabled Brown — along with several other young players such as Svi Mykhailiuk and Christian Wood — to seize more minutes last year. A stress reaction in Thomas’ right foot and an early end to the season limited him to just eight games in 2019-20. 



David Mansaray playing a game of basketball: Detroit Pistons guard Khyri Thomas shoots against Milwaukee Bucks forward Jason Smith (during the fourth quarter at Wisconsin Entertainment and Sports Center, Jan. 1, 2019 in Milwaukee.


© Jeff Hanisch, USA TODAY Sports
Detroit Pistons guard Khyri Thomas shoots against Milwaukee Bucks forward Jason Smith (during the fourth quarter at Wisconsin Entertainment and Sports Center, Jan. 1, 2019 in Milwaukee.

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On paper, Thomas has the pedigree to be a reliable 3-and-D role player. He’s only 6-foot-3, but has a 6-10 wingspan. He’s a two-time Big East Defensive Player of the Year. He was also a 40.6% 3-point shooter during his three seasons at Creighton. 

Thomas benefitted from the Pistons’ group workouts during the last three weeks, head coach Dwane Casey told reporters. The in-market bubble, which ended Friday, gave him an extended opportunity to showcase his game. 

And the timing could work in