Not many players can offer the mix of athletic tools and length that Tyrus Thomas brings to the table.
Small wonder, then, why the power forward from LSU was taken fourth overall by the Portland Trail Blazers.
However, Thomas will never toil for the Jail Blazers, because as part of their draft day trading frenzy, they dealt his rights, along with Viktor Khyrapa, to the Bulls for the rights to LaMarcus Aldridge.
Thomas, considered by some to be the best player in the draft, redshirted in his first season at LSU, so was considered an unproven commodity heading into the 2005-06 campaign. But the Baton Rouge native was truly at home at college this season, quickly making the transition from bench player to starter and averaging close to a double-double in 25.9 minutes per game.
Thomas’ ability to leap made him a feared shot blocker, averaging 3.1 per game. His efforts were recognized when he was named SEC Freshman of the Year.
The thin and wiry (6’9″, 218) Thomas turns 20 next month, and among the players he’s drawn comparisons to are Shawn Marion and Stromile Swift (except with much more energy than the underachieving Swift ever has shown). He’s got great agility for a big man and he should earn plenty of time off the bench with the Bulls, backing up the power and small forward positions.
If Andres Nocioni can’t cut it as a starter at SF, there’s even a chance Thomas could move into the starting lineup later in the season. For now, Chicago has plenty of bench options, so Thomas will have to earn more PT. He’s off to a good start, however, having made a favourable impression in Summer League play.