Steady, if not exactly spectacular, Kurt Thomas has manned the starting power forward spot for the Knicks and helped them into the NBA Finals.
With averages of 5.2 points and 4.8 rebounds a game during the playoffs, it can't exactly be said that Thomas is leading the Knicks. But while other frontline players have succumbed to injuries -- center Patrick Ewing and forward Larry Johnson -- Thomas has been one of the most steadying influences up front.
Being Mr. Steady is something new for Thomas. He is playing with his third team in the NBA after four years in the league, making previous stops in Miami and Dallas. In the 1997-'98 season, he even chipped in as an assistant coach with the Mavericks when he was sidelined with a fractured ankle.
He has been severely limited by injury during his four seasons in the NBA, playing in only 23 games in the 1996-97 and 1997-98 seasons because of his ankle problems.
Thomas was a workhorse this season, though, playing in all 50 games. He didn't play all that much, even as a starter, averaging less than 24 minutes a game. But that was due largely to the emergence of Marcus Camby.
Thomas may not be the scorer that Camby is, or have the game presence that Ewing or Johnson has.
But he's been healthy and willing. And, for the Knicks, that's been key.