If Kenny Thomas were a commendable player, he would perform as he did on Wednesday night every time out.
We don't need him to go 7-8 from the floor. But the shots he took against Milwaukee - those are the shots Kenny Thomas needs to be taking. Not 18-foot jumpers. Not runners off of the dribble from the high post. Not foul-line hook shots. Layups. Dunks. Baby hooks from the restricted zone.
The nine rebounds he pulled in were encouraging. The fact that four of them were on the offensive end was better, considering that the Kings as a whole did a good job keeping Milwaukee off the offensive glass (allowing a Milwaukee offensive rebound percentage of 25%). If the team rebounds well, it's OK for Kenny or Brad or Shareef or Ron-Ron to not have gaudy individual rebound numbers. The team rebound percentage is the important thing.
The best thing Kenny Thomas can do, though, is not give up the ball. That's been his most glaring wart all season - his iron mitts. I don't think Eric Musselman asks a lot of the guy on the offensive end, so seeing a guy end the game with 4 turnovers in 30 minutes is tragic. Every turnover, that's a shot your offense can't fire at the basket. When your team isn't a particularly solid shooting team, then those "extra shots" matter a whole lot.
Kenny Thomas had only one turnover in 34 minutes against Milwaukee. (It was classic KT turnover - he was handling the ball at the left elbow in three-point range, apparently attempting to drive. Ruben Patterson - an angry, angry man - picked his pocket. Kevin Martin saved two points at the other end by blocking a layup by Ersan Ilyasova, who looks like he jumped straight out of a Munch painting. I digress.) KT has to know his limitations both as a ballplayer (he was born a bad ballhandler) and within this particular offense (spacing and crisp passing are the keystones of both the corner and open sets Musselman has been running). Against the Bucks, he knew his limitations. He knew his role. And look what happened - a really solid performance.
Of course, the Bucks might have a worse interior defense than the Kings. Andrew Bogut, age 22, might already be as slow as Shareef Abdur-Rahim, age 30. Ersan Ilyasova should probably be playing shooting guard at this point, because in the paint he looked more out of place than Jesse Jackson at a Klan rally. Dan Gadzuric got, what, thirty seconds of burn? Not a good defensive team at all, especially in the middle.
Still, clean offensive performances like the Kings put out Wednesday are trumpetable. Yay Kings offense!
(This is to say nothing of the most silent 36-point outing in years. Did you ever think there'd be a game when Ron Artest would take 23 shots and no one would talk about it afterwards? It was all done - save maybe two attempts - completely within the offense. Even the outside shots weren't of the "I've-got-the-ball-and-I'm-better-than-this-dude-guarding-me-so-I'm-going-to-dribble-twice-then-pull -up-and-fire-away" variety. Encouragement! Woohoo!)