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Tyrus Thomas' Road to Salvation Has Already Started In The NBA D-League

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The former NBA lottery pick is clawing his way back to the NBA and started his D-League career off in a nice way with the Iowa Energy.

Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

When Tyrus Thomas walked to the podium after being selected with the fourth overall pick in the 2006 NBA Draft, he had no idea he would flame out of the NBA in less than seven years. No one could tell the fourth overall pick that in 2015, he would be relegated to the NBA Development League, playing for the Iowa Energy either. Life has a weird way of working sometimes, because as Thomas finds himself as a member of the Iowa Energy, he was nothing but smiles. Why? He was playing basketball for the first time in nearly two years.

Consider that Thomas is banking $9.3 million in amnesty money from Charlotte. There's no reason for him to be here other than the love of the game, which he clearly has. His re-debut to basketball was a reminder that Thomas is a lot closer to being back in the NBA than most of us could have realized. Thomas could have never imagined he would be playing in a game for the Iowa Energy against the Delaware 87ers on Friday, but life can throw curve balls to test us and see how we react. In Thomas' case, the 6'9" forward hit the ball out of the park.

The final box score showed 15 points, five rebounds and two blocks for the former lottery pick in 24 minutes played. After coming off the bench in the first quarter, his first bucket came off a fast break, shaking all of the nervous bones from his body. The Louisiana native was solid all around, showcasing a game many thought had left him. He still has the ability to knockdown a mid-range jumper, something that should pique his interest to NBA clubs.

Remember that the man was a former lottery pick for a reason and NBA teams won't let him hang around in the D-League for too long if his play accelerates fast enough. No team wants to be the one that missed out on Tyrus Thomas' comeback because they were waiting for another game. A 10-day contract is a low risk, high reward move, especially for someone of Thomas' stature.

The numbers he posted in his debut aren't anything new, but they signify a major step forward for a man trying to get where all of his teammates and opponents are also trying to be: the NBA. As of now, Tyrus Thomas is just a crab at the bottom of the barrel, crawling, scraping, and trying to get out.