In the second round of the 2018 NBA Draft, the Pistons made a trade to acquire the draft rights to Creighton University guard, Khyri Thomas. During the 2018-2019 NBA season, a second-round pick did break out for the Pistons, however, it was not Khyri Thomas. He was outshined by the scrappy Miami University guard with a defensive ability that a fringe-playoff team desperately needed, Bruce Brown. Brown played 74 games for the Pistons during that season, and made his NBA Playoff Debut as well, playing a major role in the first-round series against the Milwaukee Bucks.
Khyri Thomas on the other hand, played 26 games in that season, only averaging 7.5 minutes per game in his games played. Thomas spent most of his time in the NBA G League, however, he still remained a prospect many fans still had their eyes on.
Heading into the 2019 Summer League, many were excited to see the first-round rookie, with seemingly all the potential in the world, Sekou Doumbouya. However, it was understood fans would also get a better look at Khyri Thomas. Thomas had a solid Summer League outing, averaging 13 points per game, showing off his 3 point shooting ability. However, once again Thomas was outshined by Bruce Brown. Brown led the Summer League in assists and nearly averaged a triple-double at 13.5 Points, eight Rebounds, and 8.3 assists per game. Brown’s performance led to an even larger role on the team in the 2019-2020 season playing everywhere from starting point guard, starting shooting guard, or to backup shooting guard.
Thomas’ role on the team was already questionable, but it was expected he’d have a larger role on the team than the previous season, but a foot injury at the very beginning of the 2019-2020 season forced Thomas to miss several months of action. In the meanwhile, another second-round pick had a breakout season, in Svi Mykhaliliuk. Averaging nine points off the bench, making the Rising Stars Game at All-Star Weekend, and shooting 40% from three, Mykhailiuk had a season that made many believe in his future as a prominent member of the rebuilding Pistons.
By February, Thomas had recovered from his foot injury and began his 2019-2020 season in the G League, before making his regular-season return on February 25th against Denver. Thomas however didn’t produce much in his 13 minutes, only scoring 3 points shooting 25% from the field. Thomas would only play 8 games in the 2019-2020 season before it’s suspension, which ended the Pistons season.
The 2020-2021 season will be crucial to figuring out Thomas’ role on the Detroit Pistons, and if he can become the player the Pistons had hoped he could be. In every sense of the phrase, it will be a make or break season for Thomas.