By Kings.com Fan Correspondent Alex Kramers
Past: Since he was selected 12th overall in the 2008 NBA Draft, Jason Thompson has led the Kings in rebounds (1,697 – 30th in the NBA) and blocks (176) and ranked second in points (2,512). In 2009-10, he became just the 10th player in franchise history – and the first since Lionel Simmons in 1991-92 – to tally at least 11.5 points and 7.5 rebounds per game as a second-year player.
Over the course of his career, Thompson has been a nightly double-double threat, averaging 14.1 points (49-percent FG), 9.5 rebounds and one block per 36 minutes. Among all players with over 5,000 minutes played since 2008, the tenacious and hard-nosed Kings big man ranks eighth in offensive rebound rate (10.7) – ahead of Tim Duncan, Pau Gasol and David Lee.
Playing a key sixth-man role for much of last year, the forward-center shot a career-best 50.7 percent from the field. After the All-Star break, he tallied 10 points (53.7-percent FG) and 6.8 rebounds in 26.8 minutes per game. In 19 contests in which he played at least 30 minutes, Thompson averaged 14.3 points (59-percent FG) and eight rebounds – and recorded season-highs of 22 points and 14 rebounds against the Washington Wizards on Dec. 8, 2010.
Present: After fracturing his right toe in mid-June, Thompson focused on strength training and daily cardiovascular workouts during the offseason to stay in top shape. The Kings forward also devoted a portion of his free time to giving back to the community, hosting a fundraiser in Camden, N.J., to raise money for his foundation and “Like JT” campaign.
Once back to full strength, Thompson played in several Pro-Am exhibition games, including the Battle of I-95 in Pennsylvania in September. The big man poured in 45 points in the Goon Squad Classic in late November, running the floor well in transition in a high-scoring shoot out and showing no ill-effects from the toe injury.
Future: Thompson presents a wide range of offensive skills, including a terrific back-to-the-basket game, a smooth mid-range jump shot and the ability to finish strong at the rim. On the defensive end, the 6-foot-11 big man is able to guard both forwards and centers with his lateral quickness and size, and exhibits relentless hustle and intensity, doing everything he can to help the team win.
Considering Thompson has rebounded at a higher rate through his first three seasons than prolific window-washers Amare Stoudemire and Antonio McDyess, the 25-year-old has the talent and determination to develop into an All-Star-caliber player. Having developed excellent chemistry with DeMarcus Cousins, as three of Sacramento’s top-five lineups last season featured the two rising big men, according to 82games.com, Thompson‘s contribution on both ends of the court will be pivotal to Sacramento’s continued success