#2: Matt Thomas is more than a shooter
The MVP of this game is easily Matt Thomas. The sophomore shooting guard out of Iowa State was a focal point for the Raptors’ offense on Saturday night. The scouting report reads to force Thomas off the three-point line and make him put the ball on the floor. A strategy that the Hornets made obvious with their game plan, however, backfired quickly.
Matt Thomas was able to dissect the Hornets’ defense possession after possession. Typically Thomas would look flustered when he’s faced with pressure from the defense, but his level of patience has increased tremendously.
The addition of Chris Finch to the coaching staff has proven to have paid off greatly. Finch was the associate head coach for the New Orleans Pelicans last season and spent a lot of time working out J.J. Reddickuh. Thomas was the main beneficiary of Finch’s knowledge and showed major improvement with his offensive game.
If Matt Thomas is able to run the offense as a ball-handler occasionally, it relieves Fred VanVleet and Kyle Lowry of major burdens. This also allows the offense to be more dynamic and creates more possibilities for Nick Nurse to work with. Safe to say the scouting report on Matty Ice has to be changed soon.