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.
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.
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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