30 January 2016

Malcolm Thomas Expected to Bring Defense to Bolts

Malcolm Thomas
The Meralco Bolts always do a great job of scouting and signing hard-working imports before the Commissioner's Cup. They may not have been able to bring back last year's scrappy plays from Josh Davis, but they found themselves enlisting a certified low-post operator and intimidating defender in Malcolm Thomas.

The 6-foot-9 Thomas has played in several NBA teams including the San Antonio Spurs, Golden State Warriors, Chicago Bulls, Utah Jazz and Philadelphia 76ers.

This was confirmed by head coach Norman Black in a text message to InterAksyon.com.

Black personally went to the United States to see Thomas during the NBA D-League showcased and was impressed with what he saw in the big man, who averaged in double-double in points and rebounds.

"He is a former NBA player for the 76ers who just finished playing for the LA Defenders in the D-League where he averaged 18 points, 12 rebounds and 2.5 blocks a game," Black said.

Physically, Thomas has intriguing tools that mesh well with what he brought to the table on the college level. He's a bit undersized for a NBA power forward at just 6-foot-8, but his 7-foot-2 wingspan made him a menacing shot blocker at San Diego State University (SDSU) and allows him to play a bit taller than he's listed.

While his 220 pound frame could still use additional muscle, Thomas is a good all-around athlete, running the floor well and looking exceptionally quick off his feet when pursuing rebounds.

The biggest question marks about Thomas revolve around his jump shot. Through Synergy data indicates that Thomas made just 6 of the 25 jumpers he attempted in one season during the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament, Thomas has promising form that with continued polish and repetition could open up a number of facets of his game.

He didn't attempt too many jumpers during the tournament, but if he wants to improve his effectiveness in the PBA, he'd be well served to diversify the roles he can play by honing his mid-range game.

Defensively, the 27-year old had extended stretches of promise. He had a number of big time blocked shots at the rim over his career, and while he wasn't pursuing every shot he likely could have, he showed terrific timing. When he was playing on the weak-side he showed a nose for the ball and a willingness to box out when pursuing rebounds. Couple that with the lateral quickness he showed defending the perimeter and it was tough not to come away impressed his defensive versatility.

Heading towards the PBA Commissioner's Cup on 10 February, Thomas is a player to keep an eye on. He will be a big reason if the Bolts can break it to the Finals, and much like Davis, he's a tool away from being an intriguing and dominating PBA impport.

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