Title: Sessions with a specialist: Inside the mind of Raptors sharp-shooter Matt Thomas
Date: July 14, 2020
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I wrote about Matt Thomas’ rookie year, his mental approach to the specialist role, and whether he has a place in the Raptors’ playoff rotation.
Matt Thomas lost count of how many shots he gets up a long, long time ago. Not that it would really matter; Thomas, one of the NBA’s small-sample sharpshooters, prefers his approach to his game to unfold in the subconscious, or at least the less conscious. It may not be the only way for a shooting specialist to survive one of the sport’s toughest roles, but it has gotten Thomas this far.
And so when he was asked last week how it felt to be back working out after such a long layoff, Thomas was unmoved. He spent at least a month in Toronto at the beginning of the league hiatus, when he didn’t have access to a hoop. Eventually, he made the 12-hour drive to Wisconsin, where he had more regular gym access, marking the end of the only time Thomas can remember going even two weeks without shooting. It’s generally believed that high-end shooters rely on feel and rhythm more than the average player. Would the layoff disproportionately affect him?
“I’ve shot hundreds of thousands of shots in my life. That’s not going to go anywhere,” he said.