RTC NBA Draft Profiles: Trey ThompkinsPosted by jstevrtc on June 16th, 2011
Player Name: Trey Thompkins
Height/Weight: 6’10, 240 lbs.
NBA Position: Power Forward
Projected Draft Range: Late First/Early Second Round
Overview: For the three seasons he was in Athens, Thompkins led the Bulldogs in scoring twice — 17.7 PPG in 2009-10 and 16.4 PPG in 2010-11 — and made his mark as one of the better rebounders in the SEC, finishing fourth in that category the last two years (8.3 and 7.6 RPG, respectively). From his first moment on the UGA campus he was one of the most skilled post scorers in the league. Nobody ever looked at Thompkins and came away wowed by his athleticism, but with nice touch around the basket and the mid-range, and with a surprisingly diverse selection of post moves, Thompkins showed himself to be quite comfortable in his 6’10, 240-pound skin, a quality that a great many kids of similar size at this age don’t acquire until some time later. For his three years, it seemed that Thompkins got a couple of touches on every half-court set; he led his team in touches during his tenure and was near the top in the SEC.
Will Translate to the NBA: There are three fundamental things Thompkins does with his back to the basket that we enjoyed watching during his time as a Bulldog. When he gets to the block, he establishes that wide base with his feet that makes it hard for defenders to get around him and it invites his guards to throw it to him (aka, he “presents himself” well in coachspeak). When he gets the ball, he keeps it high and can use both hands to handle the ball or shoot it. Finally, he only waits about a second before getting to the point and starting his move. These are basic building blocks coaches love to see. When not doing work down low, he has a completely reliable jumper to about foul-line range. We don’t expect he’ll be hoisting many threes at the pro level, but he wasn’t totally out of place behind the college arc, picking his spots well and shooting a minimum of 31% in his last two seasons.
Needs Work: He’s big and he’s pretty strong, but he won’t blow you way with his hops or his quickness, even compared with other fellows his size. He didn’t do badly when he got out and ran the break at UGA, but this didn’t happen as much as it should have. In three seasons he fouled out of only three games, and with Thompkins that represented more of a lack of aggressiveness on D rather than possession of that skill some big men have in terms of knowing how to stay out of foul trouble while still playing tough defense. He averaged less than two blocks a game as a Bulldog, which serves as further evidence to that lack of commitment on defense. Most of all, though, the biggest knock against Thompkins is his fitness. He simply isn’t ready for a full NBA schedule yet, and another year in college would have helped him massively in improving his mental and physical conditioning. He’s decided to try and play in the grown man’s game. The comparatively easier days of college are therefore over. It’s time to be a grown up.
Comparison Players: In great physical condition, Thompkins is reminiscent of a David West or Kurt Thomas type of player. He has a proven ability to score inside, a nice mid-range game, and can get on the boards to do the dirty work. If he doesn’t put in the requisite time to get in and stay in shape, Oliver Miller could be his future. The reason that his draft stock has been precipitously dropping in the last month is because scouts are seriously worried about the second option.
Best Case Scenario: The best thing that can happen to Thompkins is that he dedicates himself to getting physically fit, as well as mentally and physically tough. If he does that, and improves his efforts on defense, he has the talent to get double-digit minutes on a regular basis for an NBA team. He isn’t far from where he needs to be in order to be a nice post-up scoring threat in the NBA, and he’ll be able to handle himself on the boards at the next level. He’ll have to show patience, though; it’s inevitable that he’ll have to spend time in the D-league to show that he’s making progress in these areas.
2014 Projection: Thompkins will go as far as his desire takes him. If he makes the improvements he needs to make, no doubt he’ll be bounding around NBA arenas in three years. If he doesn’t, he’ll still be scraping around Europe (not exactly living in exile, that) or the D-league in 2014.
Best NBA Fit: The NBA is a sink-or-swim league so it’ll be incumbent on Thompkins to put in the effort to get his body into shape to play significant minutes. That’ll be true no matter where he lands. That said, the ideal situation for Thompkins would be to arrive on a veteran-laden team that will teach him how to become a professional on and off the court. If he ends up on a young team, he may not last. This means teams like the Boston Celtics at #25, the Dallas Mavericks at #26, the San Antonio Spurs at #29 and the Los Angeles Lakers at #41 would make sense.
Scout’s Take (Chris Denker from Netscouts Basketball): “work ethic and weight… how much does he want it?… good combination of size and skill… will make for a quality backup on a good team.”