Playing or being assigned to the D-League always comes with negative connotations especially when players are considered fringe NBA talent at best, but Spurs signee Malcolm Thomas, who is currently assigned to the Austin Toros, has nothing but positives to say about the D-League in a video interview with D-League.com.
“The D-League really helped me develop all my game. It’s such a good place for people to work on their game,” Thomas said. “Some people say its a negative, but that’s far from the truth. I feel like it’s helped me 100 percent, and that’s why I felt like I got signed this year because I had time to work on some stuff. Now I’m here, and I’m still working on stuff so it only helps.”
Thomas, who had been previously been signed by the Spurs, has been assigned to the Toros several times this season and is with the team at the D-League showcase in Reno. Thomas started off the season with the Los Angeles D-Fenders where he showed off a deep shooting touch, something that had not been part of his game much before.
“I feel I could shoot it, but I feel like I just had to get my confidence up a bit,” Thomas said, stating it took a lot of reps and his coaches encouraging him to have the confidence to take his game outside of the painted area.
As far as coaching goes, Thomas says it’s pretty seamless going from the Spurs to the Toros and back.
“It’s great, they run the same system,” Thomas said. “The coaches are just as serious as San Antonio so it works out.”
Aside from being able to sign Thomas before any other team did when he was considered the best D-League prospect, the Spurs may have someone that may just stick around. As I wrote about last month, Thomas could end up redefining the stretch forward position with the Spurs and is unique in that he is comfortable playing inside and out.
It was reported today by Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski that the Spurs are guaranteeing Thomas’ contract for the remainder of the season and he will not be waived. That should be a sigh of relief for Thomas, who commented that being assigned to the Toros while being signed with the Spurs helped relieve a lot of pressure compared to when he was fighting for an opportunity earlier this season.
Now that the Spurs players sent to the Toros are accepting the mission, and working on their game, the next measuring stick is can the coaching staff at the Toros develop the players to the point that they succeed in San Antonio? Cory Joseph looked to have done that last year, but this year has been a disappointment. What about Malcolm? Can he improve his game, and then get decent minutes up in San Antonio to justify the investment or not? I hope so, but it has to be proven. Or will they just release him in June 2014 and let Philly or Orlando or Atlanta reap the benefit of San Antonio's investment?