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Thread: Brunner} Could Thomas Crack the Roster? Plus, Thomas Fighting to Keep NBA Dream

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    Pacer Junky Will Galen's Avatar
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    Default Brunner} Could Thomas Crack the Roster? Plus, Thomas Fighting to Keep NBA Dream

    http://www.nba.com/pacers/news/question_050712.html

    Could Thomas Crack the Roster?

    Tuesday, July 12, 2005
    QUESTION OF THE DAY, Conrad Brunner

    Q. I noticed that the Pacers have Chris Thomas on their summer league roster. Since I wasn't too impressed with the play of our point guards last year (especially when Jamaal Tinsley was hurt), what is the chance that he might make the roster for this coming year? I have to believe that with his passing ability and quickness, he might benefit the Pacers, who already have (Stephen) Jackson, (Jermaine) O'Neal, and (Ron) Artest as scoring threats. Why not take a chance on a younger guy who has proven he can be a playmaker and even score himself (over 2,000 points and 800 assists)? (From Nick in Mishawaka, Ind.)



    A. Given the Pacers have three veteran point guards under contract (Tinsley, Anthony Johnson and Eddie Gill), you'd think it would be extremely difficult for an undrafted rookie to crack that roster at the position. But Thomas just might be an exception. For one thing, the Pacers showed quite a bit of interest when inviting him to their summer camp, which indicates at least a strong curiosity about his potential to help the team. For another, Thomas is an extremely accomplished college player, a four-year starter of prolific productivity, and it's rare to find someone with his resume available after the draft.

    The Pacers coaches like his proven abilities to shoot, make plays and keep constant pressure on the defense. Only two other players in NCAA history racked up 2,000 points and 800 assists (Gary Payton and Sherman Douglas), and he was a career .363 shooter from the 3-point line. What they'll need to see from Thomas is the ability to bring the ball up against high-pressure defenses, and then get a team into its offense quickly and efficiently. They'll also be watching him on defense quite a bit to see if he can use his quickness to be more disruptive, particularly in the passing lanes.

    Thomas impressed the Pacers by reporting immediately, arriving at Conseco Fieldhouse within two days of the draft, to begin working out on his own with the coaches. If he can use that time to reinforce his strengths while mitigating his perceived weaknesses, it will have been time well spent. By most accounts, Thomas is a player with NBA ability. Whether that translates into a job with the Pacers remains to be seen, but he just might have more of a chance than most might think.
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    http://www.nba.com/pacers/news/thomas_050712.html

    Thomas Fighting to Keep NBA Dream Alive
    By Conrad Brunner | July 12, 2005

    For the first time in his basketball career, Chris Thomas is fighting for a job.
    It's a new challenge for a player who has been among the elite at each of his previous levels, but his response has been encouraging to the Pacers. Among the 20 players on the rookie and free agent minicamp roster this week, the former Pike High School and Notre Dame standout has made a strong early impression.

    "We know he's an excellent shooter," said Coach Rick Carlisle. "We know he can score. We know he can make plays. We're looking for his ability to be able to run a team at the NBA level. That includes decision-making on offense and getting guys the ball in positions where they can do things with it and, defensively, being able to get up 94 feet and disrupt.

    "That's going to be the key for him to have an opportunity to make our team, how much of an impact he can have defensively with his quickness because we know, offensively, he's a very accomplished player in many ways."

    Thomas finished his career as one of the most accomplished players in all of college basketball. He posted career averages of 17.1 points, 6.5 assists, 4.1 rebounds and 1.9 steals at Notre Dame. He is one of just three players in NCAA history to total at least 2,000 points and 800 assists (joining Gary Payton of Oregon State and Sherman Douglas of Syracuse). He started all 128 games of his career with the Irish, and only Austin Carr and Adrian Dantley scored more points for Notre Dame than his 2,195.

    Despite it all, Thomas didn't hear his name called on draft night. Though not entirely unexpected his senior season was the least productive of his career the slight has helped motivate Thomas, while also serving to his benefit. As an undrafted player, he was able to select which opportunity best suited him, rather than being bound to a team through the draft. A native of Indianapolis who has followed the Pacers closely for years, Thomas responded almost immediately when the Pacers expressed interest.

    "It was a no-brainer for me to come here," Thomas said. "I worked out the second day after the draft and I've been here ever since. Maybe going undrafted was a blessing in disguise. The Pacers have been watching me since Isiah Thomas was the coach and I was in high school, so I think they've always liked some things about my game. They just want to see that first-hand.

    "It's a great opportunity. Everybody's pushing for me and it's great to see the level of interest in the coaching staff and the scouts. I'm in here every day. They see I love to work hard and am doing whatever it takes."

    A prolific offensive player at Notre Dame, Thomas must demonstrate other skills to make the jump to the NBA as a point guard.

    "If he can run a team and get the ball to spots and get a team into the offense, he'll have a chance to be in this league," said assistant Dan Burke, who along with Chuck Person is coaching the summer league team. "We like guys that can shoot, of course. Right now, what we want to see from him is to get up, pressure the opponents' point guard, turn him a couple times. We also want to see if he's able to bring up the ball against pressure, get us organized and get us into our offense in a timely manner."

    After practicing in Conseco Fieldhouse through Thursday, the Pacers will take a team to Minneapolis for five summer league games in five nights beginning Friday. Veterans Ron Artest, Jonathan Bender and David Harrison are all expected to play in varying quantities.

    With three veteran point guards (Jamaal Tinsley, Anthony Johnson and Eddie Gill) on a roster that already includes 14 players under contract for 2005-06, Thomas knows he's facing an uphill battle to make it with the Pacers.

    He likens it to his freshman year at Notre Dame. Coming off a prolific Pike High School career that included two Class 4A state championships and the 2001 Indiana Mr. Basketball award, Thomas felt like he was starting from scratch when he reached college.

    "I had something to prove, just that I belonged there," he said. "It's the same situation. The coaches have told me, 'Chris, you're going to play in this league. You've just got to be patient, stick to your strengths and play with a lot of confidence.' That kind of feedback makes you want to work harder because they see the talent in you."

    It should be noted that Thomas has risen to similar challenges when moving up to higher levels. As a high school freshman, he led Pike to the 1998 state title. In his first college game, he posted the first triple-double in Notre Dame history (24 points, 11 rebounds, 11 assists) and went on to be named the national Freshman of the Year by two publications.

    This is a guy, then, who knows what it takes to make the next step. He'll need to apply all of that knowledge to separate himself from the pack of players scratching and clawing to get into the NBA by any means necessary.

    "It's like all-out war out there," he said. "People are trying to fight for a job and fight for their dreams."
    ------------

  2. #2
    pacerlife
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    Default Re: Conrad Brunner} Could Thomas Crack the Roster?

    Sure hope this kid can make the team some how.

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    Default Re: Conrad Brunner} Could Thomas Crack the Roster?

    I'd love for him to be on the team as I rooted for Notre Dame this last season but I just don't see where he fits in if Indiana keeps Jamal and Anthony and they decide to add another point guard like Sarunas.

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    Pacer Junky Will Galen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Brunner} Could Thomas Crack the Roster? Plus, Thomas Fighting to Keep NBA Dream

    Like other's I'd like to see this guy make the team. If not that I would like to see him playing for the Pacers in the NBDL.

    Has anybody read how that is going to work? Do players have to be signed to the Pacers and sent down, and thus count against their 15 man roster? Or can the Pacers sign people to play in the NBDL?

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    How are you here? Kegboy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Brunner} Could Thomas Crack the Roster? Plus, Thomas Fighting to Keep NBA Dream

    Quote Originally Posted by Will Galen
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    Like other's I'd like to see this guy make the team. If not that I would like to see him playing for the Pacers in the NBDL.

    Has anybody read how that is going to work? Do players have to be signed to the Pacers and sent down, and thus count against their 15 man roster? Or can the Pacers sign people to play in the NBDL?
    My understanding is we can sign him and send him down, since he has less than 2 years in the league. Which means we could send Edwards or even Harrison down as well, but couldn't send Gill or JJ.

    No idea if it would count towards the 15 or not.
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    Member Ultimate Frisbee's Avatar
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    Default Re: Brunner} Could Thomas Crack the Roster? Plus, Thomas Fighting to Keep NBA Dream

    isn't it now a 17 man roster?

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    Pacer Junky Will Galen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Brunner} Could Thomas Crack the Roster? Plus, Thomas Fighting to Keep NBA Dream

    Quote Originally Posted by ILovethePacers
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    isn't it now a 17 man roster?
    No, it's still 15.
    ----------------

    The NBA plans on two NBA teams sharing an NBDL team. If so it has to mean teams can have more than just 15 players under contract.

    The NBDL will have to have at least ten man squads. That would be five from each mother team. Some NBA teams need more than 10 players because of injuries. Last year we had 6 players for one game. That would have meant we would have called everyone up from our share of the NBDL team.

    I can't want until we get all the particulars of this latest bargaining contract.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Brunner} Could Thomas Crack the Roster? Plus, Thomas Fighting to Keep NBA Dream

    I hope he does well in the summer league...I think it's going to take a stellar effort to unseat Gill, though (only because Gill is already under contract and is a known quantity). The only other way I see him making it is if a trade occurs and Gill or AJ are included (and I doubt AJ is included in anything given Tinsleys injury-prone history...I don't think they want a rookie/inexperienced PG going into next season).

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    Default Re: Brunner} Could Thomas Crack the Roster? Plus, Thomas Fighting to Keep NBA Dream

    Quote Originally Posted by Will Galen
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    No, it's still 15.
    ----------------

    The NBA plans on two NBA teams sharing an NBDL team. If so it has to mean teams can have more than just 15 players under contract.

    The NBDL will have to have at least ten man squads. That would be five from each mother team. Some NBA teams need more than 10 players because of injuries. Last year we had 6 players for one game. That would have meant we would have called everyone up from our share of the NBDL team.

    I can't want until we get all the particulars of this latest bargaining contract.

    Cool, thanks!!

  10. #10

    Default Re: Brunner} Could Thomas Crack the Roster? Plus, Thomas Fighting to Keep NBA Dream

    Quote Originally Posted by Will Galen
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    No, it's still 15.
    ----------------
    I think that is yet to be determined. I'm under the impression there is a good chance because of the new NBDL rules, roster size may expand to 16 or 17.

  11. #11
    Member McClintic Sphere's Avatar
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    Default Re: Brunner} Could Thomas Crack the Roster? Plus, Thomas Fighting to Keep NBA Dream

    Thomas was on The Drive with JMV last evening and sounded thrilled to be with the Pacers. He also mentioned what competitive pickup games at Pike High School where he is an alum.

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    Pacer Junky Will Galen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Brunner} Could Thomas Crack the Roster? Plus, Thomas Fighting to Keep NBA Dream

    Quote Originally Posted by sixthman
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    I think that is yet to be determined. I'm under the impression there is a good chance because of the new NBDL rules, roster size may expand to 16 or 17.
    The question was is the roster size 17 now. But the answer is still 15 as of now.

    People are guessing they will change the roster size because of the NBDL, but NBA teams sometimes need their full 15 man roster to field a team, so there are no extras there. However, increasing an NBA roster to 16 or 17 still wouldn't fill an NBDL team roster.

    Sometimes teams have horrible years injury wise and the NBA league office permits them to sign more than 15 players. That happened to Toronto several years ago and to us this past year. What would have happened if we would have had an NBDL team last year is we would have called all our players up. That would have left our partner team in a bad spot needing to fill the whole NBDL team with their players.

    Something obviously has to be worked out. That's why I'm interested in hearing what they come up with July 22ed. Until then anything we hear is just talk.

  13. #13
    foretaz
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    Default Re: Brunner} Could Thomas Crack the Roster? Plus, Thomas Fighting to Keep NBA Dream

    you have to remember the nbdl wont be in full play till the year after next...this season it appears teams will have the option to send a player or two from the roster to a team in the nbdl.....but it doesnt seem likely rosters will grow this year...nor does it appear the team will have the ability to sign additional players and put them on an nbdl roster this year....

    now when the following season rolls around and the nbdl has expanded again and the teams have their respective 'farm' teams, then the logistics will probably change.....

    i have a feeling all we will see this year as far as the nbdl is the ability to send a player or two,maybe the inactive player on the roster, down to the nbdl to develop...this season will just be an interim arrangement till all the nbdl teams are in place and can be assigned to their perspective nba teams...

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    Banned PacerMan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Brunner} Could Thomas Crack the Roster? Plus, Thomas Fighting to Keep NBA Dream

    I never saw anything in him that suggested he could make this team. I'd say he actually regressed the last year or 2. But then passing Gill wouldnt't take that much.

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    How are you here? Kegboy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Brunner} Could Thomas Crack the Roster? Plus, Thomas Fighting to Keep NBA Dream

    I don't think NBDL teams are going to be made entirely of players sent down from NBA teams. At least to start with, my bet is teams will be able to assign a couple players, and that's it. The rest will sign with the NBDL teams themselves, in keeping with the current system.
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  16. #16
    Diesel
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    Default Re: Brunner} Could Thomas Crack the Roster? Plus, Thomas Fighting to Keep NBA Dream

    Well there are concerns about Chris Thomas ability to handle pressure bring the ball up, from what I saw in college hes no worse then AJ in that department. I just love his defensive ability and hope he makes the team. He'll be more valuable then Eddie Gill was last year.

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