Larry Brown and Tyrus Thomas – Come on! « Queen City Hoops

Larry Brown and Tyrus Thomas – Come on!

Can someone, ANYONE, please contact the Bobcats organization and let them know that there are currently no known league policies precluding them from playing Tyrus Thoms? The only person keeping Tyrus from blowing the F up is Larry Brown, and its gone past ridiculous straight into the realm of unacceptable. What more can Thomas do to warrant at least 30+min/gm (if not full on starters minutes)? Not only is he NOT playing, but he’s losing minutes to guys like Dominic McGuire, Matt Carroll, Derrick Brown, Kwame Brown, DeSagana Diop, and Nazr Mohammed…again…unacceptable. His PER is currently at a robust 23.56 which is, apparently, just high enough to earn him 21min/gm. Please tell me that you guys are paying attention to this, because I firmly believe that you helped play a part in getting Rambis to remove the vice from Love’s 4th quarters, and I genuinely think that you could do the same for Tyrus. Below are his season’s PER48 splits, please enjoy:

Total 17 21.3 9.7-19.0 51.1 7.7-9.1 84.1 2.25 3.58 3.8 5.8 5.0 8.4 13.4 1.3 27.0
As Starter 1 34.0 15.5-28.2 55.0 5.6-5.6 100.0 0.00 5.65 0.0 2.8 9.9 5.6 15.5 4.2 36.7

How, exactly, is it that Larry Brown feels justified in keeping this kind of production on the bench? If so inclined, please take a minute to post something on behalf of Tyrus Thomas, I know he’d appreciate:)…After all the negative things that have been written about him (and his game), I think he’s earned it.
-Tim (Twitter at TheWagOfMutombo)

Henry at TrueHoop passed this email on to me and (with Tim’s permission) I am going to dig a bit deeper. Though I was on the other side of the Kevin Love argument (Maybe Coach Rambis is not crazy), this is my opportunity to show that I am not just a contrarian – Larry’s insistence on starting Nazr and giving not insignificant minutes to DeSagana Diop (before Kwame got healthy), Kwame Brown (once he got healthy), and Derrick Brown instead of Tyrus Thomas has been troubling since game 2 of the season. Opening night – Tyrus Thomas got 31 minutes, scoring an efficient 22 points and grabbing 6 rebounds. It was over two weeks later on November 15th before he saw more than 24 minutes again. What exactly could he be doing wrong? Potentially defense, like it appeared might be the cause for Kevin Love?

If it is defense that is forcing Larry’s hand – my numbers can’t find it. With Tyrus on the court this year, the Bobcats have allowed an efficiency of 104.0 and it goes to 106.5 with him off the court. Looks solid for him. Ok – how about individually? Tyrus is among the team leader’s in slowing down his opponent, allowing 1.8 fewer points per 100 possessions to his man than expected. Nazr and Derrick Brown bring up the rear on this at 6.7 and 5.1 more per 100, and Kwame is only slightly in front of Tyrus at -2.4. For allowed PER, Tyrus has surrendered a PER of 1.2 points below expected, with Nazr at 6.75 above, Derrick at 5.19 above and Kwame at 0.59 below.

The one troubling number I see in Tyrus’ opponent production? A very high free throw rate – instead of 0.45 free throw attempts per field goal attempt, Tyrus’ man has been getting to the line at nearly 1.5 times that rate, 0.67. This causes his respectable field goal percentage allowed to become a somewhat ugly 59.8% true shooting mark. That’s really the only blemish though on his individual defensive stats – Tyrus Thomas Defense By Position – and it would seem to be outweighed by the decreased scoring output and PER of his foe.

Which brings us back to offense – and while PER measures things aside from offensive output, it is a decent indicator of overall performance and a good place to start. As Tim mentioned, Tyrus has put up a stellar PER of 23.56. How good is that? Among qualified players, it is 11th in the league (Hollinger’s NBA Player Stats – Insider). The interesting thing about his spot? Tyrus and Shaq are the only players in the top 30 who are not playing at least 30 minutes. The difference is that Shaq, at 38 years old, is nearly old enough to be Tyrus’ (just 24) father.  Other teams seem to think playing productive players makes sense, why not the Bobcats?

Now, not only does Tyrus enjoy a lofty ranking in the league in PER, he easily leads the Bobcats, with D.J. and Nazr trailing him at around 16.7. A point of per over 2000 minutes of action generally equals about 1 win – so if Tyrus stays at 20 minutes per game for the season, rather than getting 30, the Bobcats lose out on about 2.1 theoretical wins over the rest of the season.

Like the large gap between Tyrus and his teammates in PER, there is a similar gap in how much Tyrus is scoring for the Bobcats – per 100 possessions, Tyrus is scoring 29.5 points, with Stephen Jackson at 26.3. There’s another big discrepancy on the way though: Tyrus is second on the team in true shooting percentage at 59.8%, while Stephen Jackson is 7th at 56.4%. The only Bobcat ahead of T-Time in TS% is Derrick Brown, at 63.7, though he is only scoring 16.7 points per 100 team possessions.  Generally, that is the trade-off:  With increased output comes decreased efficiency – but Tyrus is scoring more and more efficiently than the Bobcats next big scorer.  On a team struggling to put points on the board, at 23rd in offensive efficiency, sitting such a player seems counter-productive.

Last note:  The Bobcats have played two lineups with much consistency this year, with the rest of their lineups getting 30 minutes or less together on the season.  The starters are one of the two lineups, with D.J, Jax, Crash, Boris, and Nazr having logged over 200 minutes together.  During that time the Bobcats have been outscored by about 11 points per 100 possessions.  The Cats other common lineup is the one where Tyrus replaces Nazr – and that lineup has dominated opponents the same way the starters have been crushed:  +10.6 points per 100 possessions for this group of Bobcats.  That’s been done over the course of 86 minutes, getting close to 2 games worth of time together.  It might be time for the Bobcats to switch that minutes breakdown between the two – because what they’re doing is not working and continuing to do the same thing and expect a different result is…well, I don’t want to call Larry Brown crazy, so I’ll just say stubborn – for now.

15 comments to Larry Brown and Tyrus Thomas – Come on!

  • Gate_City

    I’m really having a problem with LB’s rotations, but Tyrus Thomas’ situation in particular mind boggling. And what LB sees in McGuire to warrant the minutes he’s been getting lately is a mystery.

  • kam

    I agree. Thomas should get more minutes because I can’t see someone else in the team who is better than him. I really like his energy and efforts in both end of the floor.

    It was just a coach decision although i totally don’t understand. When you see Larry Brown, he is not a good coach, the reason i said that was because he should not leave the Piston after they won a chanpionship. He ran away because he scared that they might lose badly the next year.

    Then he came to NY, and everyone knows what happen. He messed up all around.

    Now, i believe he tended to play Kwame Brown more was all because of Michael Jordan. Jordan drafted Brown back in Washington and that was one of the most stupidest action in NBA. But he still brought him back….Why?……Because he wanted to show people that I am MJ. Larry Brown might be just doing what MJ told him to do, in which he has to show people that Kwame Brown can still play in NBA.

    I am just feeling bad for the bobcat players, because this organization is hopefuless, with an owner and coach like them.

  • Steve

    Why is it that almost every time I can remember over the past decade that a situation has come up where people are questioning why this amazingly productive player isn’t getting more playing time, LARRY BROWN happens to be the coach?

  • taylor mokris

    See the discussion in the comment section of Rick Bonnell’s blog. I brought up this same exact thing. Note Rick’s response to Tyrus’ situation below, is it me or is our beat writer just WAY off?

    I totally get your observation on Tyrus impacting the game a lot when he gets a lot of minutes. You conveniently ignored a central question:
    1. Was he so productive because he got minutes? Or….
    2. He was left in the game because he was helping more than hurting.
    It’s always dangerous to judge your impact purely from a box score. And in this fantasy-league generation, it’s way too easy to judge a player’s real value based on numbers.
    Alan Bristow used to talk about fans prodding him to play Dell Curry more. And Alan would talk about the law of diminishing return.
    Alan’s point: Just because Dell was really effective 20 minutes a game doesn’t mean he wouldn’t commit 3 more fouls and give up five easy baskets at 30 minutes a game.
    Tyrus Thomas is a big talent who makes a bunch of mistakes and doesn’t manage his emotions really well. When he has it going, he plays a bunch. When he makes the mistakes and loses his temper, not so much.
    I understand that and that’s about more that Larry Brown’s opinion. Look back at what Wallace and Jackson said to me in the preseason.
    I’m not knocking Thomas — not at all — I’m saying most of you disregard what a work-in-progress he is.

  • Sam

    Steve, maybe it’s because you have a bad memory, because I can point to at least one situation. Hint: it’s mentioned in the post above.

    • Sam – you missed the tags around Steve’s comment. It does not render correctly in some browsers. (Just so everyone is clear – there aren’t really sarcasm tags, but his comment was sarcastic, it just can be hard to recognize in written word)

  • Roc1980

    it was Tayshaun Price before…

  • Wybo

    Kam: Larry Brown didn’t leave after winning a championship, he lead them to the finals the next year and they played a brutal 7 game series with san antonio that could have gone either way. That was after he beat Shaq’s heat in the previous round.

  • Dave

    Could it possibly be because LB doesn’t like playing Diaw and Thomas together much, he often subs in Tyrus for Boris? Is it unreasonable to think LB prefers Diaw? At Basketball Value it is pretty clear that Diaw helps the team more than Thomas. In fact most lineups where Tyrus looks good Diaw is in as well.

    Actually, Charlotte’s second most played lineup has Thomas and Diaw as the big men, and it does pretty well, so maybe the problem is that Larry Brown prefers Mohammed (only one of those guys listed who plays more minutes than Thomas) as the starting centre – although the evidence is they are worse off defensively with Nazr in the lineup.

  • Paul

    Ah Tyrus…
    I’m a Bulls fan and we had Tyrus for his first couple years in the league and boy did I ever feel the same way. You watch the guy come into the game and produce dramatic blocks & dunks…

    Tyrus will get his minutes, and when he does you’ll understand why he rides the bench. He had no basketball smarts at all. I don’t think there is a worse NBA player out on the floor when he doesn’t have the ball in his hands.

  • jack

    Ty Thomas is averaging 5.8 fouls in 21 minutes. He can’t stay on the floor…

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  • Dave

    I take it all Back. Kwame Brown! you can not be serious, Kwame Brown! over TT?!? (Hat tip to Steve Smith) They still get the Win – in spite of LB’s playing Kwame (I was just sick in my mouth again)
    check out the latest game …

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