All it took for Malcolm Thomas to get a call-up from the D-League was two games. Two games. That's it. Clearly, it helped his cause that he was averaging 33.5 points on 62.2 percent shooting from the floor, but even so, that's a quick promotion by anyone's standards.
But since he swapped his D-Fenders jersey in for the Spurs' silver and black, not much has really changed. I realize that may sound odd given the fact that he recently signed a contract with one of the most successful franchises the NBA has to offer, but Thomas has yet to register a single minute in San Antonio. Instead, he's spent three games with their D-League affiliate, the Austin Toros.
Thomas is in a completely different situation in Austin. Unlike when he was with the D-Fenders, he doesn't have the luxury of taking 20-something shots per game and instead has to play more within the flow of the offense. As a result, his numbers across the board have dropped, which naturally brings up some warning signs. But it shouldn't. While he isn't scoring or rebounding at the same rate as he was before, he's had more of a presence on the defensive end (which is a scary thought) and offensively, he's been even more efficient.
Take Saturday night as an example. In 40 minutes, Thomas played second-fiddle to Nando De Colo and put up his most complete performance to date, scoring 22 points on 9-for-17 shooting from the floor and 3-for-6 from three, grabbing 10 rebounds, dishing out five assists, and blocking four shots.
We already know that Thomas can bully every big man the D-League has to offer in the post, which is why it was nice to see him show off another side of his game by setting more screens, rolling to the basket or popping out for a jump-shot. Thomas is still doing all the things we grew accustomed to seeing while he was with the D-Fenders - you know, the put-backs, some silky smooth hook-shots etc. - but it's nice to see that he can adjust his game depending on the make-up of whichever team he is playing for. In L.A., he did most of his damage in the post. Now, he's drifting further way from the basket, showcasing that shooting range he's worked so hard on.
As previously mentioned, most of Thomas' numbers have taken a hit since he found a new home - down from 33.5 points and 15.5 rebounds per game to 20.3 points per game and 10.3 rebounds - but he continues to impress in the D-League by showing off his ever expanding game and it's a joy to watch.