Lance Thomas, the Thunder’s new X-Factor?


Lance Thomas, the X-Factor for the Oklahoma City Thunder.

If you heard me say this before the season started, most Thunder fans would probably suggest I make my way down to the closest mental health institution and check myself in. Heck, I probably would have fastened the straight jacket myself.

But now, with injuries to so many Thunder players, saying Lance Thomas is the next OKC player primed for a breakout year is not so crazy after all.

Warranted, its only been 3 regular season games for the 4th year small forward from Duke. But what we have seen so far has been extremely encouraging, if not promising. Its also a bit surprising.

Live Feed

NBA rumors: Bulls chasing Lillard, Howard one step closer to Warriors, Celtics' Brogdon insurance
NBA rumors: Bulls chasing Lillard, Howard one step closer to Warriors, Celtics' Brogdon insurance /


  • NBA 2K24 Trendsetter Pack: How to Claim Free 10,000 VCDBLTAP
  • Pacers put ideal sharpshooter for Bulls on trade blockPippen Ain't Easy
  • Do the Washington Wizards really have the worst big 3 in the NBA?Wiz of Awes
  • This three-team Buddy Hield trade idea lands Wizards an athletic rookieWiz of Awes
  • Sixers Podcast: Preseason Eastern and Western Conference RankingsThe Sixer Sense
  • Thomas had a promising start to his basketball career in high school, when he was named a 2006 McDonald’s All-American in his senior year. He averaged 14.5 ppg and 6.5 rpg as a senior that year for Saint Benedict’s Preparatory School in Newark, New Jersey. He would go on to win a gold medal for the U.S. Under-18 National team in the same year.

    College would be a different story.

    At Duke, where Thomas attended college, Thomas would average below five points and five rebounds a game. He would, however, become a co-captain for the 2010 National Championship team, playing 35 minutes. Where Thomas really helped Duke was not in points or rebounds, but energy defense. He would end his college career as the 10th all-time rebounder for Duke as well as a part of the 2010 ACC All-Defensive team.

    Unfortunately, Thomas wouldn’t be able to find the same success in the NBA.

    Thomas would go on to be undrafted in 2010 and would be bounced around the league, playing for Spurs D-League affiliate, the Austin Spurs, and occasional minutes for the newly renamed New Orleans Pelicans before being waived from the team. He would also play 16 games for the Chinese team, Foshan Dralions,  last season. But nothing really stuck. Until this season.

    Thomas impressed this summer, playing in the summer for the Chicago Bulls summer league team, where he averaged 7.6 points and 4.4 rebounds in five games. The Thunder would sign Thomas to a training camp deal in August and keep him on the roster when the season started.

    Now, fate has struck Thomas and placed him in the spotlight for a Thunder team riddled with injuries. He hasn’t disappointed.

    Even though the sample size is truly too small for Thomas to be considered a future rotation player for the Thunder, he has played impressively nonetheless. With a Thunder team who is lacking in rotation players (and looks closer to the bench of the Tune Squad in Space jam), Thomas has shown his knack for playing with high energy, scoring points (10 ppg.) as well as being an active rebounder( 4 rpg.) and defender. He has shown touch from not only the post, but also a mid-range shot. And that’s exactly what the Thunder needs.

    More from Thunder News

    Even though Kevin Durant’s backup, Perry Jones, has broken out of his offensive shell so far this season, Jones is needed for bench support for the backcourt as well as a backup to Serge Ibaka. What Thomas gives the Thunder is options.

    Thomas has the energy and offensive ability to lessen the load that Serge Ibaka and Perry Jones must carry offensively. He has shown, in this small time frame, that he can give Scott Brooks a scoring/energy option off the bench when almost no others exist. When Kevin Durant returns, Brooks will have another option to rest the MVP without a drop-off in energy.

    Thomas’ path to the Thunder has been an unusual one, but now he has the chance to finally make an impact on the NBA

    It’s too soon to tell, but Lance Thomas could be another in a string of players who have struggled before joining OKC and then excelled with the Thunder organization. And he has almost 30 more games to prove that what he is worth and if he can truly be the x-factor the Thunder needs right now.