Let's play a game, shall we? I'll write six statements about Knicks forward Lance Thomas, and you try to guess which one isn't true:
- Lance Thomas has a higher true shooting percentage (TS%) than LeBron James.
- Lance Thomas ranks 12th in TS% among NBA forwards with at least 150 field goal attempts.
- Lance Thomas has the 4th-lowest rebounding percentage among qualified forwards.
- Lance Thomas has done exemplary work guarding the likes of Damian Lillard and James Harden for extended stretches.
- Lance Thomas has the 12th-lowest assist percentage among qualified forwards.
- Lance Thomas has a higher 3P% than Dirk Nowitzki.
The correct answer, of course is that they're all true. Lance has a well-earned reputation as a forward who can effectively guard multiple positions and do absolutely nothing else of value. Recently, however, Lance had found himself a neat secondary skill: gettin' buckets. The 27-year-old journeyman is averaging a shocking 11.9 points over his last nine games, and has already scored more points in December (8 games) than he did in all of November (15 games). His overall shooting percentages have shot up to an impressive .453 FG%/.388 3P%/ .882 FT%.
How has he done it? Let's take a look at Lance's shot chart over the past nine games.
The most frustrating part of Lance's game is his compulsive need to pump-fake from the corner, step up, and shoot a mid-range J. He still does that, of course, but he's gradually becoming aware of the fact that he can actually hit that three-ball. Lance is also taking nearly three shots a game at the rim, where he's proven to be bouncy as hell, a decent finisher and a superlative free-throw shooter.
It's hard to find decent Lance highlights, but this clip from the Nets game shows his new-found talent for hitting corner threes and dunking like a young LeBron:
By all means, Lance, feel free to keep this up. You may look like a 90-year-old man when you're running, but you also have legitimate basketball skills that can help the Knicks. Your confidence is clearly growing, so shoot that three when you're open. Plow your way to the rack if you think you can get there. We've seen glimpses of the Lance the wild offensive stallion, and now it's time to let him run free.