NBA Superlatives: Lance Thomas

By: Jim Eichenhofer,, @Jim_Eichenhofer

Among the six New Orleans Hornets players who returned from last season’s team, Lance Thomas undoubtedly traversed the most difficult path to making it to the NBA. The Duke University product is the only member of that six-player group who went undrafted out of college, even though he started for the 2010 national champions. Thomas has also spent time in the D-League. After being waived by New Orleans early in the 2011-12 regular season, he was called back up to the NBA by the Hornets in February. He took full advantage of his opportunity, playing in a total of 42 games and starting 10 times. Thomas recently sat down with to discuss some of the highlights of his experience so far in the league:

Most memorable moment in the NBA: “When we ended Linsanity.” (Editor’s note: the Hornets handed Jeremy Lin his first loss as a starter after a seven-game winning streak, by beating the Knicks 89-85 at Madison Square Garden).

Most memorable dunk in the NBA: “When we played at New Jersey, Greivis Vasquez gave me a pass in transition and I dunked it. It meant more to me because I’m from there.”

Most embarrassing moment in the NBA: “One time when we were switching ends from offense to defense, I lost my footing and fell face-first very hard. But I got up really quickly.” [smiles]

Most surprising thing about the NBA as a rookie: “How strong every person is at every position. Certain guys don’t look that strong if you’re seeing them (from afar), but on the court, they’re very strong.”

Toughest player to face at his position: “LaMarcus Aldridge of Portland. He was a tough guard. He shoots the ball very high so that you can’t block it. He’s also athletic and has a fadeaway jumper that you can’t guard.”

Most underrated player in the NBA: “I’m not just saying this because he’s on my team, but I think Greivis Vasquez is. He has a really, really good feel for the game. I feel like he could adapt to any situation. He’s not the most athletic player, but he does so many other things so well that you don’t even notice that. He has great court vision and is a very selfless player.”

Best uniforms in the NBA (besides the Hornets’): “I know I’m not supposed to say our jerseys, but I have to go with our Mardi Gras uniforms. I like those a lot. But outside of those, the best jerseys are the Knicks’ ones. I grew up watching them.”

Favorite road arena: “I’m not going to say Madison Square Garden, because probably everyone says that. I like playing at Golden State. It feels like you’re playing on a stage.”

Favorite road trip, based on the city: “New Jersey and New York, because that’s where my family is from. Being from there, I know the area very well and how to get everywhere.”