Title: Matt Thomas ready to step back into a role for Raptors following rare G League rehab assignment
Date: January 6, 2020
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I wrote about Matt Thomas using the G League for a rehab assignment of sorts, something basketball is beginning to borrow from baseball.
That Matt Thomas didn’t come out of the gate smoothly was no big deal. In fact, it was the entire idea. On the shelf since Nov. 23 with a fracture in the middle finger of his non-shooting hand, Thomas was in a Raptors 905 uniform Monday specifically to shake off any rust.
It didn’t matter that Thomas turned the ball over on his first touch. Or that he missed a step-in floater on his first attempt. Or that he missed his first three 3-point attempts, including a smooth release in transition and a wide-open look from the corner. It didn’t really matter that Thomas grabbed his own rebound off that missed floater for a bucket, either, or that he found Jawun Evans with an unselfish extra pass for a 3 on a fast break shortly after.
It definitely mattered when Thomas hit that same step-in, midrange shot with less than a minute to play in the fourth quarter, and when he knocked down a pair of free throws with 26 seconds left. Both plays helped ice a 124-114 victory for the 905, a big one with Nick Nurse, Fred VanVleet, Pascal Siakam, Norman Powell and more on hand. With Stanley Johnson, Malcolm Miller and Oshae Brissett also in the lineup, a loss would have hurt. Wins and losses still count, and the 905 have a season to continue playing once those players are back in the NBA. From the Raptors’ perspective, though, Thomas’ output was mostly immaterial.
“If Matt were to come down here and go 0-for-10 from 3 tonight, yet he goes in tomorrow and makes shots for the Raptors, that’s all we care about,” Raptors 905 general manager Chad Sanders said.
Check it out on The Athletic.