You read correctly, Malcolm Thomas has been given another 10-day contract from the Chicago Bulls. Now I couldn’t find any pictures of Thomas in a Bulls uniform which attests to the fact of whether or not he is actually “on the team.” Yes he sits on the bench and yes he chest bumped Jimmy Butler during Wednesday’s game against the Miami Heat, but other than that, he has been just another face on the continuously extending bench that Chicago has.
Thomas’ new contract must have spawned from the 21 seconds he played on Wednesday seeing as that’s the only court time he has seen since he was signed.
Now originally I thought Thomas was signed in order to fill in for the injured-at-the-time Taj Gibson, but I was wrong. Instead of playing him, coach Tom Thibodeau opted to play Carlos Boozer at his natural power forward position and Nazr Mohammed at center. I’m not saying that decision was wrong, what I think was odd though was when he opted to move Boozer to center and have Jimmy Butler play at power forward with Nate Robinson, Marco Belinelli and Luol Deng running the back court. If Thomas was never going to be incorporated into the game plan, then why sign him at all? Coach Thibodeau seems to be getting along just fine without him, so why keep him around? My guess is for confidence; confidence in knowing that he has someone if he needs him.
In Coach Thibodeau’s defense, this is nothing new. Rookie Marquis Teague hasn’t played significant minutes this season so far (he is only averaging 8.9 minutes a game) and Butler only averaged 8.5 minutes a game last year as a rookie. The trend in simple; Coach Thibodeau doesn’t often play rookies but breaks them in and gets them into the action in their sophomore year. The testament to that fact is Butler who went from 8.5 minutes and 2.6 points per game as a rookie to 23.3 minutes and 7.7 points per game this season as a sophomore.
So is that the plan for Thomas? Is Coach Thibodeau looking to hold onto him in order to break him in during the summer for next season? No one can really know for sure, but it would suit his record if that were exactly what he did.