SF – 6’7, 200lbs – Born 11th November 1992
The hope when Thompson joined Ohio State way back in the day was that he would develop the offensive and playmaking skills required to maximise his excellent physical profile. With good size for a wing, Thompson has the length, frame, athleticism and leaping ability to play anywhere, including at the very top level.
What he hasn’t done is add much to that. Thompson has developed some skills, but not much, particularly in the way of offensive nuance. He handles the ball little – very little, in fact – and thus his offensive impact is capped by the quality of the players around him, his own level of movement, and his shot making ability off the ball. Thompson’s offensive game therefore as a result is all jump shots and dunks, and without having added shooting consistency to his sporadic outside range, this makes him inefficient offensively overall.
You can run lob plays for Thompson, you can encourage him to run in transition, you can run the occasional curl play to the rim or the pull-up, you can stand him in the corners and you can prompt him to work the baseline. Yet in needing setting up offensively almost always, being streaky with his shooting and having questionable offensive flow – sometimes hesitating, sometimes taking bad ones – Thompson remains a specimen more than a reality on that end.
That said, the above profile also makes for a player who can still play in any league in the world, as long as they can defend. Here, Thompson measures out much better. He can defend either forward spot with regularity and is a good option in switches at all five positions, and although he is thin, he compensates with hustle and patience. Thompson has the length to block the play from behind, a willing helper with good timing in his plays on the ball. And if he fouls from over-helping, so be it.
Chase-downs aside, Thompson does not have the obvious defensive impact of someone like Zach Smith, but he is quite good at it. On the nights his shot is falling, he is a very useful three-and-D player.
– 20th June, 2019
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