In a move that hasn't gotten a lot of attention in the national press, Sam Presti added Kurt Thomas to our team. I think outside of a few people here at SC.com this has been an under the radar move that will have a big impact on this team this coming season.
Thomas was brought in to provide veteran leadership for this team, and he'll do a great job of that I suspect. Thomas will be teaching our younger guys some tools of the trade he has picked up across his NBA journey. Another important thing Thomas will contribute to the mindset that the team wants to move a new direction by having a defensive focus. Kurt Thomas has long been known to be a hard worker and a guy who does the dirty work as well. This is a stark change from our finesse orientated players of the past few years.
While I don't think Kurt Thomas will burn the league down with stats, I do think he still has something left in the tank. My hope would be that KT will see 15-20 most nights, and would really fill a gap as an experienced front court player in times of need. Some might think this will take time away from Nick Collison and/or Chris Wilcox, but I'm not concerned with that at this point. I think there is room for all of them with Thomas (very limited) and Collison filling in at times at Center depending on match ups. The guy who seems to be the odd man out now will likely be Johann Petro. And of course Mo Sene is likely to see some more extended runs in the NBDL again this year so doesn't factor into the equation for much playing time.
While Thomas might reduce the number of minutes Nick Collison and Chris Wilcox will play to a small degree, I think what he will bring on the court will compensate for that lost time. I suspect Nick and Chris will be able to learn a considerable amount in this coming season from Thomas, and both will be better players for it. I also think that having Thomas will help keep a more consistent front court rotation now that Robert Swift will be back playing Center.
I see Kurt Thomas as the new (but without the thug reputation) of what Danny Fortson was for this team the last time we had an extended playoff run in 04-05. I'm looking forward to watching him play for the Sonics.