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Doubting Thomas

Posted by Brian Mulligan on 1/24/2011 11:17:57 AM

Quality big men in the National Basketball Association are not only few and far between but they can change the point spread results in games all by themselves.

Kurt Thomas, at the tender age of 38, is doing just that for the Chicago Bulls this year as the second oldest player in the league with the venerable leader Shaquille O’Neal 7 months his elder.

The next oldest is the ageless Jason Kidd.

Thomas played high school in Dallas, went to Texas Christian University and became only the third player ever to lead the nation in scoring and rebounding joining the deceased Hank Gathers and the X Man, Xavier McDaniel.

The other night in a win over the Dallas Mavericks Thomas had a game for the ages and his stats only tell half the story of what he means to this team.

He made no less than 5 crucial plays down the stretch to preserve the 5 point win and for the game had 9 points, 11 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals in 29 minutes. His 5 offensive rebounds changed the course of the event and allowed the Bulls to cover the game by a minute point and a half.

His value to Chicago at this point in time is immeasurable. They have suffered of late with injuries to Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer and to have a genuine enforcer in the middle has already paid huge dividends.

One thing that is often overlooked on a team is the value of having a guy that has been around the block and back and can add significant insight to the younger players on the team.

Thomas has already taken over that role and has been able to guy and help fellow Bulls big man Omer Asik. This Turkish product is a legit 7-foot but he is no stiff.

Offensively, Asik is nothing to brag about but he handles the ball well, has good hands and is not afraid to mix it up, something Thomas can show him how to do without getting the attention of the referees. Thomas has also been a good influence on Noah and Taj Gibson, who is starting to show signs of star potential.

The respect of the coaches around the league is something that Thomas is proud of to this day. He is always coveted in trade talks and that is not only because of his durability but his consistency.

Listen to what Mavs Coach Rick Carlisle had to say about him, Carlisle: “Thomas knows his way around the lane. You got to put a body on him and you got to put leverage on him. The Bulls find ways to win and that’s kind of defined their year so far.”

With Noah expected to be out until possibly late February and Boozer trying to ease himself back into the lineup, hoop bettors don’t have to worry about the Bulls getting beat up down low against the big teams in the league.

Beware of all the Doubting Thomas’.


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