Tepic went undrafted this past summer, yet made the step up to the big time anyway when he moved from Partizan Belgrade to Panathinaikos. As luck would have it, Partizan have made it further than Panathinaikos in the EuroLeague this year, but they couldn’t pay him what Panathinaikos have. They might have overpaid, though, because Tepic has not had a good year. He averaged only 3.5 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.0 assists per game in the EuroLeague, alongside 6.3 points, 2.7 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game in the Greek A1 League. It probably didn’t help that Panathinaikos already has Vassilis Spanoulis, Dimitris Diamtantidis, Nick Calathes and Sarunas Jasikevicius as ball-handling options ahead of him. But Tepic is one for the future, so it doesn’t matter yet.
Incidentally, for the first time in the award’s history, Diamantidis didn’t win the EuroLeague Defensive Player of the Year award. The award instead went to ex-Bulls and Blazers forward Viktor Khryapa, and that more than anything highlights the difference between European and NBA ball; the athleticism. Khryapa couldn’t defend particularly well in the NBA because everyone was quicker than him. (This was particularly evident the one time Scott Skiles put Khryapa on LeBron James one on one after DNP-CDing Viktor for the previous month.) But in Europe, where the athleticism is not as prevalent (or as important), Khryapa does just fine. An elite all-around player, in fact.
Former Mavericks draft pick Terry has spent the year in Spain, playing for Xacobeo Blusens. He has averaged 12.2 points, 4.9 rebounds and 2.5 fouls in 25.5 minutes per game, shooting 34% from three-point range. The points are god, but Terry shot only 32% from three last season and 31% in 2007-08; for a guy who made his name in college as a three-point shooter, he’s not shot too well in his professional career thus far. Additionally, Xacobeo have been relegated after only one season back in the top flight ACB. So all in all, a mixed year for Terry.
Off The Street Billy Thomas spent the year in the D-League, doing that thing that he does; shoot threes. For the expansion Maine Red Claws, Thomas averaged 7.9 points and 2.8 rebounds per game, shooting 41% from the field and 37% from three-point range, taking more threes than twos. The D-League was an eclectic choice for the 34-year-old; I guess he was tired of playing in Greece for free.
Iowa graduate Thomas was also in the D-League this year after spending last season in Sweden of all places, where he led Sundsvall to the title and was named to the All-Defensive team. He was drafted by the Dakota Wizards, but was released before playing a game, and returned in December to play for the Iowa Energy. Thomas averaged 9.3 points and 7.2 rebounds in 48 games for the Energy, numbers pretty much identical to his Swedish league ones. We don’t get to talk about Sweden a lot here. And that’s a shame, because with Jonas Jerebko and Vanderbilt’s Jeff Taylor, it’s a good time for Swedish basketball right now.
James Thomas once played for the Bulls. And when I say “once,” I mean he appeared seven times, totalling 26 minutes and 8 rebounds for the 2005-06 placeholders. Thomas also played for the Sixers, Blazers and Hawks, and was once a training camp signee of the Hawks; however, his time in the NBA finished about four years ago.
Thomas signed a two-year deal with Bancas Teramo of Serie A in the summer, but was released by mutual consent after only five games due to injury. He averaged 8.2 points and 7.3 rebounds in only 23 minutes.
Ex-NBA centre John Thomas is 34 years old, and still going strong. It has been difficult for him to find regular work since his unexpected NBA redux in the 2004-05 season, but this year he’s spent the whole campaign in Israel with Hapoel Holon. Thomas has averaged 12.8 points, 8.6 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game. Those assists numbers are fine from a centre; for comparison’s sake, Holon’s starting point guard Lior Lipshits averages only 2.4 per game. And yes, his name really is Lior Lipshits.
Thomas started the year with the Kings, the final hangover from the Chris Webber deal. He survived much of the year on the roster, and even played in 26 games, but was waived when the Kings trade deadline activity necessitated a roster spot. (More importantly, Thomas’s expiring deal was not included in any of the trades. Because that’s why he was still there.) Thomas has not signed anywhere or done anything newsworthy since.
Remember the days when Kenny Thomas was an athletic combo forward with three-point range? Nah, but it did happen. Thomas hit 57 three-pointers in his first two NBA seasons; over the next nine seasons and 486 games, he hit only two more.
Former UTEP and Sonics forward Omar Thomas is in the Italian second division with Enel Brindisi. He is averaging 18.3 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.2 steals per game. Earlier this week, Thomas was named as the unanimous Lega Due MVP. His return to Serie A looks inevitable, and it’ll probably be with Brindisi, who he led to the Lega Due championship.
Thompson has been starting at small forward for Hapoel Jerusalem all season. He is averaging 12.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.9 steals per game in the Israeli league, and averaged an almost-identical 12.6 points, 5.9 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 2.4 steals per game in the EuroCup. He has shot a combined 53% from the field and 38% from three-point range. Very very solid all-around numbers.
Brazilian forward Tischer once signed with the Suns, and even made the roster for the first few days of the 2005-06 season, mainly because he’s Leandro Barbosa’s mate. He has been back in Brazil ever since, except for one largely unsuccessful year in Israel. This year for Assis Basket, Tischer averaged 7.6 points and 5.6 rebounds per game.
Tomas left Real Madrid in the summer as a part of their regime change. He returned to his native Croatia to play for KK Cibona Zagreb, not to be confused with KK Zagreb, Tomas’s first team. He has cast up the threes this year to decent effect, averaging 16.4 points per game in the EuroLeague, 15.3 in the Adriatic League and 11.7 in the Croatian league.
Tomic was signed at Tomas’s former team KK Zagreb to begin the year, averaging 17.5 ppg and 8.2 rpg in the EuroChallenge. Those numbers were sufficient enough for a big-time midseason move to Real Madrid, where he averaged 11.0 ppg and 3.6 rpg in the EuroLeague, and 7.5 ppg, 5.3 rpg and 2.0 apg in the ACB. But if he is destined to follow Tomas’s path and move to Cibona one day, it’s not going to be for a while yet, because Tomic is headed towards big things.
2007 draft candidate Traore has not yet left his native(ish) France. He is back with ASVEL Basket, the team he grew up with, and averaged 14.5 points and 5.4 rebounds in the EuroLeague. Traore also averages 15.6 points and 5.0 rebounds in the French league, ranking ninth in scoring.