Rewinding back to Monday, I had a theory that Tim Thomas’ problem was psychological:
“His per minute averages are about the same across the board except for points & assists… This makes me think the problem may not be physical … If it were, I would expect his stats based on physical ability (steals, rebounds) would see the biggest change … he’s suddenly & inexplicably lost his ability to make a shot… Watching Thomas it’s hard to tell if he’s mentally unhappy… It’ll be interesting to see if he can snap out of his shooting funk because everything else is right where it should be.”
A few days later on Thursday, the Daily News reported:
“Tim Thomas admitted yesterday that family-related issues have affected him on the court this season. Over the summer, Thomas had to deal with the death of his sister and a cousin. Last week, Thomas’ mother underwent surgery for an undisclosed illness.”
Fast forward to today, and Thomas rediscovered his shooting touch, at home against the Raptors. Tim went 8 for 14 with 17 points, a highly efficient 60% eFG%. It’s easily his best effort in over 2 weeks, and the most Thomas-like game since last year.
I could speculate that it’s the airing of his problems publicly to the press that snapped him out of his funk. There is usually a big relief when you’ve shared your internal problems with others. I might wonder if his mother’s surgery was successful, alleviating some of his mental duress. It would make sense that he would play better hearing good results about a close family member’s health.
However this is all conjecture, and really I don’t have any basis for any of it. I’m not Thomas’ psychologist or best friend. I’ve never met the guy, or anyone that even knows him. I don’t know how his mother’s surgery turned out. All I know is that after spending the first part of the season shooting the ball like Ben Wallace blindfolded, he had a game more typical of what he’s done over his career. One game doesn’t mean that Thomas is totally “cured”, and the next time he goes 3-10, the Garden is going to grumble that maybe he’s entered another extended slump.
What I do know is that player’s skills rarely erode at the age of 27 without the help of a crippling injury, so it’s very likely that if Thomas’ problems were mental. If he’s gotten that aspect under control, we should see him return to his normal form.
Right now I’m working on a review the Knicks early season. It will be ready by Monday or Tuesday morning. Find out which players are cutting it, and which ones should be cut.