Tyrus Thomas: Still not starting

It’s the question that seemingly cannot be answered: What, exactly, should the Bulls do with Tyrus Thomas?

Start him or bring him in off the bench? Keep him or trade him? Let him shoot jump shots or put electrodes in his jersey that will give him a terrible shock any time he attempts a field goal that cannot be described as a “dunk” or “layup”?

Well, Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro has answered at least one of those questions. Tyrus will not start. Not yet, anyway.

Said Del Negro: “Taj has earned every minute. With Taj and Kirk (Hinrich) in the lineup, we’ve had better starts at times. Guys are going to get their minutes if they’re productive, execute the game plan and know what we’re doing. I’m happy with the starters right now and there’s no reason to change anything until I feel differently.”

Make no mistake. There’s main reason Thomas will remain a sub for now is that he remains as inconsistent as ever.

He was great in his first three games back from injury. He scored 21 points in his first game back, grabbed a game-high 15 rebounds in his second game, and finished with 19 and 7 with a game-high 14 free throw attempts in his third game. Tyrus also made several game-changing defensive plays in those three contests…all Bulls wins, by the way.

In the last three games, however, Tyrus has scored total of 19 points on 8-for-24 shooting, and he has almost as many fouls and turnovers (14) as rebounds (16).

Said Vinny: “The more consistent he is on the court, the more minutes he’ll get just like everybody else. We need him to play well and he knows that. I don’t think he has been in as good of a rhythm as he was the first few. He gave us such a big boost when he came back. He’ll be fine. I thought he had an excellent practice (Thursday). We need his activity and shot-blocking and running the court. He gives us more of an athletic presence. We’ll get him back on track.”

That’s sort of been the story of Thomas’ entire career in Chicago. He can do so much, has so much potential, but it cannot be harnessed on a nightly basis. It’s the Tale of Two Tyruses. There’s Good Tyrus, who can swing games in the Bulls’ favor by swatting shots, ripping down rebounds and swooping to the rim for easy baskets. Then there’s Bad Tyrus, who settles for long-range jump shots, gets pushed around in the paint, coughs up the ball and bungles his defensive rotations.

Will the real Tyrus Thomas please stand up?

Of course, we don’t even know how much longer Thomas will be on the team. With the NBA trade deadline approaching, the Bulls might very well consider moving him if the right deal presents itself. But until then, Vinny and the rest of the team will continue hoping and praying for a little consistency from their enigmatic big man. That may very well be the factor that determines whether the 2009-10 Chicago Bulls are pretty good…or mediocre.

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21 Responses to Tyrus Thomas: Still not starting

  1. gregkubly@gmail.com'
    Greg January 8, 2010 at 2:51 pm #

    The Taj/Tyrus saga is one of the most frustrating things about this team. Yes, the Ty jump shots are maddening at times, but I’m okay with them in a season like this one that has been written up as a loss. Look, without some offensive weapon (i.e. a jump shot) Ty is an energy guy. You don’t draft energy guys #4.

    Now I’m not comparing the two, but Amare couldn’t shoot a lick when he first hit the league either, but has developed a consistent 15-18 foot shot. Why not spend this lost season doing the same with Ty. He’s skinny. He’s not a post up 4 and never will be, but he could be an effective outside/in 4, and an effective jump shot will allow him easier drives to the hoop (ask B. Miller on that). It’s same as Rose, don’t fall in love with 18 footers, but you gotta prove you can make em in order to force the opponent to guard you.

    I guess, all I can say is, no Ty ain’t what we hoped he would be, but let the guy play and see whether he’s worth keeping.

    On the consistency note. A lot is made of Ty’s inconsistent play, but I watch the games and if Ty misses a single rotation he gets the hook. Another guy (Taj) misses one and he screams in frustration, runs to the other end of the court and VDN sits on his hands.

    Now Taj has been a revelation. Add some strength and he’s a solid PJ Brown 4 later in his career. I like him and hope he’s a bull for a long long time. But look at his game lines the last 5 games. (2 games over 5 boards and less than 2 TO’s) 3 games the opposite is true.

    Has anyone noticed that anyone we play at PF has put up maddeningly inconsistent #’s (Smith/Gooden/Ty/Taj/Skiles big fat slow guys). Maybe it’s because our ball pounding guards couldn’t set up Carlos Boozer for consistent touches while still getting theirs.

    Arrgghhh!

  2. njcamporese@yahoo.com'
    Nicky C January 8, 2010 at 3:19 pm #

    “…with a game-high 4 free throw attempts in his third game.” Giggles.

  3. rbittmann@gmail.com'
    Russell January 8, 2010 at 3:49 pm #

    @Greg So let’s have Noah and Tyrus shoot 15 footers every possession so they can practice. We can also have Aaron Gray out there working on footwork. Let’s just cancel every game and replace it with a practice. Part of Tyrus improving is practicing making good decisions. Right now, shooting jump shots is not a good decision.

  4. dmy89@sbcglobal.net'
    derrick January 8, 2010 at 5:44 pm #

    tyrus actually has a solid jumpshot, he showed that last year. dont forget he won game 1 of last years playoff for the bulls by hitting key jumpers down the stretch. I just think he’s kinda rusty now but i dont have a problem with him shootin jumpshots as long as there in the rhythm of the offense and as long as hes not shootin too many an game. My problem is when he settles for the jumpshot or he plays out of control. But regardless he is better then taj and should be starting and getting the majority of the minutes at the powerfoward position. If i was tyrus, I would just focus on rebounding and blocking shot and the points will come

  5. bullsbythehorns@gmail.com'
    Matt McHale January 8, 2010 at 6:00 pm #

    “tyrus actually has a solid jumpshot, he showed that last year. dont forget he won game 1 of last years playoff for the bulls by hitting key jumpers down the stretch.”

    Well…Tyrus CAN hit jump shots, as evidenced by the Boston series. But he shanks them much, much more often than he hits ‘em. According to 82games.com, Ty’s eFG% on jump shots is currently 28.2. Is he rusty? Maybe. But last season, his eFG% on jumpers was 35.0. That’s not much better.

    What’s worse is that 55 percent of Ty’s shots last season were jumpers…77 percent of which were assisted. This season, almost 60 percent of his attempts have been jumpers, and 100 percent of them have been assisted.

    What that means is that he tends to stand far away from the basket waiting for the ball to get kicked out to him. Instead, he needs to be on the move, cutting hard and moving toward the basket instead of away from it.

    And that’s part of why Taj — who, physically, is not nearly as gifted as Tyrus — is starting. He fights for post position (something Thomas almost never does), he shags more offensive boards (his offensive rebound percentage is almost five percentage points higher), and although 57 percent of his shot attempts are jumpers (which is still far to high for my tastes), his eFG% on those shots is 43.8…almost 10 percentage points higher than Ty’s career-best eFG% for jump shots.

  6. gregkubly@gmail.com'
    Greg January 8, 2010 at 10:01 pm #

    Agreed on Taj under the offensive boards. I’ll also give him credit for being much more effective at dunking in traffic than Ty, but come on…

    when was the last time you saw Taj block someone out for a D board. He gets 1 1/2 less D boards a game & 1/2 a total board less.

    I’ll agree with you in that Taj is a better system guy. I’d rather have Taj than Thomas on a team with 2 bonafide stars or even kinda stars, but as currently composed I’d rather ride out the bumps with Ty and revisit the issue in the summer when we see who we grab
    Because at this point, it’s all about trying to find some upside… we’ve got plenty of gifted roleplayers (Deng, Taj, & even Noah to a certain extent given his offensive limitations)

  7. TexasBullsFan January 9, 2010 at 12:36 am #

    I’m done with Tyrus Thomas. He needs to show something on a night in and night out basis. The fact that a rookie with about 1/2 his athletic ability is pretty much playing to an even swap is just sad. Tyrus should be a 20/10 guy, with his skill set. I have no idea who told him he needs to shoot tons of jumpers, but it’s awful. Really, really awful.

    Also, I’m pretty sick of people saying, “Well, lets give Tyrus a chance. He still needs to prove what he can do!”

    Ok, we’ve already seen what Tyrus can do. And it’s not a hell of a lot. He’s 4 years into his career. This should be about where he’s hitting his prime, not still getting started. Frankly, if a team offered me a bag of Funyuns for him, I’d trade it in a heartbeat.

  8. mrgarcia87@yahoo.com'
    andres Lopez January 9, 2010 at 5:41 pm #

    Thank you TexasBullsFan! you see people, this is what i been talking about these past few weeks. I am also getting sick and tired of hearing from so many people telling us to give Tyrus Thomas a chance. He is young and he has not shown us of what he can do in his top form. At this point I can care less of what he can do and his age. Just like TexasBullsFan mention this already he has 4 years in this league of NBA experience and he still does not know of what he needs to do to improve his game as a PF PLAYER! NOT AS A SF PLAYER LIKE HE THINK HE IS! (Hint: attack more INSIDE and limit your jump shot from 1-3 shots per game and the rest of your shots should come from inside with more dunks and lay ups. What’s also killing me is seeing him play more outside when the Bulls are getting ready attack on offense. While he should be playing more inside and attacking the rim and not taking so many dumb jump shots from 13-18 feet away from the basket. So that is why I say let just trade him and hopefully New York is still willing to take Tyrus Thomas with Jerome James expiring contract off our hands for Al Harrington. At least with this trade it still helps out both sides. New York will be getting another young guy that can dunk and help out Jared Jeffries on defense. While the Bulls will be getting another scorer that can actually hit JUMP SHOTS, ATTACK THE RIM, HIT BIG 3 POINT SHOTS, play solid defense 1 on 1 and he also has an expiring contract if things don’t work out.

  9. aha.ins@live.com'
    bill thomas January 9, 2010 at 6:07 pm #

    I also agree with most of you guys about Tyrus Thomas inconsistency every year. On some nights he looks like a double double machine with some blocks shots and steals and on other night he looks like he is lost and forget what he did to get those good number from previous nights. It is also sad to see that Taj Gibson is playing harder then him and at least he understand of what he needs to do as a PF, attack the rim and limit his jump shot from 1-3 shots per game. That is why I also agree, lets just trade Tyrus Thomas for someone like Al Harrington or another decent PF player that can actually scorer inside and outside at will on a consistent night.

  10. pumpkinpatch@hotmail.com'
    therealSEANPOE January 9, 2010 at 11:42 pm #

    lol
    im glad texasbullsfan already got at some of you crazy people who think tyrus hasnt been given a chance. i was like you guys around 2yrs ago until I said enough is freakin enough. the dumb shots, selfish play(see last yrs Boston series when he doesnt pass to derrick after derrick had made 6 free throws in a row just so he can shoot the free throws!) lets get rid of tyrus and the defensive stopper kirk!(that was sarcasm)

  11. usmcroc22@msn.com'
    Rocky January 10, 2010 at 3:48 pm #

    you guys are all insane…..give up on a guy that athletic in only 4 years. I say finally give him consistant minutes and see what he can do. The Coaches since he’s been there have always given him a short leash and never lets him play through his mistakes. All I know is that He’s the most athletic player on our team and our best shot blocker. Vinny has become infatuated with Taj, but to me Taj is a poor mans version of Tyrus. He’s a smarter offensive player, but he makes just as many mistakes, fouls way to much and cannot shoot a free throw to save his life. We need toplay Tyrus 30-35 minutes a game. Sallmons goes 4-21 in how many games this year and look how long it took for him to get the hook. Vinnie stuck with him and gave him every chance. Why can’t Tyrus be afforded every opportunity. How is he going to be able to increase his trade value if we don’t play him or how are we going to be able to really see what we have in him as a starter if we never give him starter minutes and let him play through his mistakes.

  12. mrgarcia87@yahoo.com'
    mike killer January 11, 2010 at 6:30 am #

    The only reason why ‘Rocky’ VD does not play Tyrus Thomas that much is because of his inconsistency plays he make down the stretch. Maybe if he was more consistent like Taj Gibson he would get more minute then him and become a starter again. Another thing: don’t judge to much Taj Gibson, remember he is still a rookie and has a lot to learn but, Tyrus Thomas in the other hand, he is not a rookie and has 4 years of league experience in the NBA and he has not shown us any positive signs of being a double double type of guy like Noah. That is why I also agree with TexasBullsFan, lopez and thomas about trading him for a PF scorer like Al Harrington or David West and have Taj Gibson to make stops on the defensive end.

  13. mrgarcia87@yahoo.com'
    mike killer January 11, 2010 at 6:37 am #

    While playing Al Harrington or David West to help the Bulls on offense. If Noah was able to reach that new super star level in 2 years and a half, why can’t Tyrus Thomas do it as well since he has more league experience then Noah.

  14. loganjimmy@hotmail.com'
    DJ FATMACK January 11, 2010 at 6:51 pm #

    WELL FOR ONE THEY SAY TYRUS NEED TO BE MORE AGGRESSIVE THEN HE GETS AGGRESSIVE THEN THEY SAY YOUR OUT OF CONTROL AND GETS THE HOOK. IM STILL WAITING FOR THE SO CALLED TUTOR FOR TYRUS, NOTICE NOAH DID NOT START SHOWING TIL BRAD MILLER GOT THERE. WHAT ALL STAR CALLIBUR VET. OR COACH HAVE WE HAD TO WORK WITH TY IN HIS 4 YEARS UNDER HE HAD COACHES THAT WERE NEW AND BOTH POINT GAURDS. LOOK ON THE BENCH YOU SEE RANDY BROWN AND THE SCAB FOR MJ PETE MEYER’S.

    THEY NEED TO TRY AND PUT DENG AT THE 2 TY AT THE 3 TAJ AT 4 AND NOAH AT THE 5. WE WERENT HITTING ANY THREES REGARDLESS OF WHO WAS IN THERE SO WE MIGHT AS WELL MAXIMIZE OUR BOARDS AND DEFENSE.

    TY SHOULD BE STARTING OVER THE COMPANY MAN TAJ. “WHO HOLDS THE RECORD FOR THE MOST ILLEGAL DEFENSE CALLS, BECAUSE HE CAMPED IN THE LANE. TY AND ROSE ARE THE ONLY ONES TO FLY BACK ON A BREAK ON DEFENSE TO GET A BLOCK. LET HIM PLAY AND QUICK GIVING HIM THE HOOK FOR ONE MISTAKE.

  15. mrgarcia87@yahoo.com'
    mike killer January 12, 2010 at 5:24 am #

    one mistake? it’s more like 3-6 mistakes per game DJ FATMACK. The only reason why Taj Gibson is playing over Tyrus Thomas is because he is more consistent each night and Tyrus Thomas is not. On some nights he looks like a double double machine and on other night he looks completely lost and forgot what he did to put up those good numbers. That why I say let just trade him for a decent PF player that can score like Al Harrington or David West.

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