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Just The Sports: Tyrus Thomas and Stromile Swift

Just The Sports

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Tyrus Thomas and Stromile Swift

At the tail end of a post about Ben Wallace duping the Chicago Bulls into overpaying him for his declining services, I semi-jokingly said that if I had been John Paxson then I would not have traded for Tyrus Thomas, who I pretended to mix up with Stromile Swift. Besides the fact that both players played college basketball at the same university, Louisiana State University, Thomas and Swift are both 6'9, between 215 and 225 pounds, were one of the top four draft picks in their respective drafts, possess the same physical skill set, and were both drafted because of their perceived potential and upside, dangerous attributes for additions to a team that wants to become a champion. If Thomas does end up following the same career path as Stromile Swift then the Bulls should be disappointed at wasting such a high draft pick and after Thomas's rookie season, the danger of that happening is clear and present and once again, a lot of truth is to be found in a jest.

Although Thomas did end his season with better final shooting statistics than Swift did in Swift's rookie season, the advantage Thomas seemingly has is not statistically significant because the range of his numbers is very wide. In other words, Thomas had a very high standard deviation for his shooting percentages and points per shot attempt. Swift had a lower standard deviation for his corresponding statistics, making his 48.7 TS% and .97 PSA compare less unfavorably to Thomas's rookie 52.1 TS% and 1.04 PSA.

As for taking care of the ball, neither Thomas nor Swift was particularly adept during their rookie campaigns so in that category we can call another draw with no clear leader.

Where Thomas did prove himself to be a significantly better player is when it came to rebounding. Thomas's 15.9 rebound rate easily trumped Swift's 12.4 rebound rate during the 2000-01 season.

Despite his lackluster rookie shooting numbers, Swift did make a big leap in his second NBA season, raising his true shooting percentage from 48.7% to 53.9 TS%. If Thomas can duplicate that improvement, he will most likely still be a player with an offensive rating still below league average. The good thing is that he plays good defense, which means the Bulls trading for him in the draft was only about 65%-75% of a waste.



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