Lance Thomas, starting with the injured Kristaps Porzingis unavailable, had 10 points and three rebounds in 20 minutes during the Knicks' 115-103 loss to the Magic on Sunday.
Thomas, who has been battling plantar fasciitis for much of the season, is averaging just 4,8 points and 1.7 rebounds while playing 16.6 minutes per game.
In 250 games during his career, the 28-year-old has averaged 5.4 points and 2.5 rebounds while playing 18 minutes per game.
In the murkiness in what has now become a five game losing streak, Thomas provided a rare bright spot against Orlando. The Knicks have needed some positive play from him for quite a while.
Thomas has missed time and has been visibly limited in what he can do. That has in turn booted him out of the rotation. With more consistent minutes against the Magic, he proved he might not be so far away from looking like his old self again.
When his starters are injured, Jeff Hornacek has turned to out of the rotation veterans to help fill the void. This keeps the second unit intact, while allowing a player like Thomas to capitalize. Scoring 10 points in 20 minutes, the forward moved much more freely on offense than he has in past weeks.
He ran the floor well and cashed in on jumpers from around the perimeter. With a bit more bounce in his efforts, Thomas' jumper didn't look as flat. Slotted in amongst the team's quality starters, he looked relaxed.
While Thomas has struggled to find his offensive footing until now, scoring the basketball hasn't been the Knicks' problem. That said, Thomas came up and was mostly known for his defensive prowess. He could really give New York a boost in that regard if his offense continues to progress nicely again as well.
The team needs two-way players, and if Thomas can continue to put together strong performances like he did against the Magic, he'll prove to the team once again that they already have one in their back pocket. It's just a point of logging such an effort and fitting in when the rest of the group is in rhythm at the same time.