2018-2019 POP Season Preview: Khyri Thomas is Stuck in Waiting
The Detroit Pistons are the deepest they have been in quite some time on the wing. Towards the back end of the depth chart is Khyri Thomas, the rookie Detroit traded with the Philadelphia 76ers for on draft night. Thomas was considered a steal, falling all the way to 38 in the draft, as a versatile guard/wing who was considered one of the best defenders in the draft.
Thomas spent three seasons at Creighton, where he excelled on both sides of the floor. Last season he averaged 15.4 points on 53.8 percent shooting from the field, 41.1 percent shooting from the 3-point line, and 78.8 percent from the charity stripe. His field goal percentage was the highest shooting percentage in the entire Big East, as he showcased a talent of not only getting to the rim but finishing inside.
Most of Thomas’ scoring will come from behind the arc or at the rim, a style that should shine under Dwane Casey. Beyond the halfcourt, he was one of the best transition scorers in the nation last season, as he ranked in the 96th percentile in transition scoring according to Synergy. Efficient and effective, offensively, he should be able to fit right in with Detroit and succeed if the opportunity presents itself.
Outside of scoring, Thomas served as a secondary passer for the Bluejays and displayed the ability to produce in such a role. He was a player that Creighton heavily ran the offense through, and over time, he became better at making the right passes and finding open teammates.
Defensively, Thomas is a ballhawk. He hounds the ball-handler with ferocious intensity, and his pesky style of play greatly benefited the Bluejays.
While Thomas stands at just 6’3″, he possesses a 6’10” wingspan and has all the tools to compete on defense. He is quick, athletic, and strong while having a high enough basketball IQ to know what type of play to make.
As of now, Thomas could likely only receive minutes at either the shooting guard or small forward spot, two positions where Detroit is loaded at. Luke Kennard, Reggie Bullock, Stanley Johnson, and Glenn Robinson III have a stranglehold on the majority, if not all of the rotation minutes at the two spots, and Langston Galloway, along with Bruce Brown will be fighting for minutes along with Thomas.
With Casey’s belief in the G League, it is very likely Thomas spends time in Grand Rapids with the Drive. There, he’ll have the opportunity to play heavy minutes and develop at multiple positions. And if injuries or a belief in his play from Casey provides him the opportunity to play in Detroit this season, then great, but the likelihood of that is low.
Khyri Thomas is an enticing young two-way prospect, but this season his role with the Pistons will likely be minimal.
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