2011 NBA Draft Combine Coverage: Should a Marijuana Arrest Affect NBA Draft Stock? Washington St.'s Klay Thompson - June 9
Marijuana is not a Performance Enhancing Drug. Unless the performance you want to enhance is consumption of Doritos and watching of Harold and Kumar movies.
But does the marijuana arrest of Klay Thompson actually have any relevance in determining his NBA Draft stock? Is this a character concern, or just a college kid doing what college kids do? After all, it may not be long until even the U.S. joins Canada in making weed semi de-criminalized.
Thompson is a 6-6 185-pound guard and left Washington State after his junior year. He's from the Pacific Northwest, which is so gloomy dude; but also a place where everyone truly appreciates nature broham.
A Pullman police officer stopped Thompson in March for a reported headlight out. He smelled the odor of marijuana in the car. Thompson denied having the drug, and after a search warrant was obtained, the vehicle was impounded and 1.95 grams of marijuana was found.
"It's come up in every interview, but it's supposed to. I made a mistake," Thompson responded when asked if the pot question comes up in NBA Draft Combine grilling sessions.
"I expect teams to check up on it. It was a humbling experience, and I own up to it," Thompson added. "I learned a lot from it, I've grown tremendously from it, and I plan to never make that mistake again. And the teams have been pretty coherent in understanding that. And it feels good to get that off my chest.
"It was a bad judgement on my part."
Mychal Thompson, his father, was the first pick in the 1978 NBA draft, a star for the Minnesota Golden Gophers, and a longtime NBA forward with the L.A. Lakers. So Klay should have an easier adjustment to the NBA than most draft prospects.
"I always go to him for advice, sometimes being my dad I feel like he is just on me, but that's just him having experience in the league," Klay said. "And I don't need to turn to anybody else because he was in the league for 12 years, and he's still around the game."
The biggest strengths in Thompson's game include catch-and-shoot, the three-ball, passing, moving well off the ball and controlling his momentum in the lane.
After the supposed "character issues," his biggest weaknesses are strength, endurance and his ability to attack the rim. He's also working on his explosiveness.
With the 2011 NBA Draft class being very thin on shooting guard prospects (amongst the many areas that this draft is very thin), Thompson is the second best behind Colorado's Alec Burks. He should get looked at anywhere from the late lottery to the early 20s. Thompson has met with a few teams including the Spurs, Pistons and Pacers.
Given that he has a famous athlete father, and a personal history of marijuana, it's natural to want to compare Thompson to the Bulls' Joakim Noah. However, that's inaccurate for a million reasons. Thompson said he modeled his game after Ray Allen and Kevin Martin. We see him more as a Rudy Fernandez type; Fernandez is a lengthy shooter who has been a valuable weapon off Portland's bench. Thompson has a similar game and will likely begin his NBA career in the same role, providing a team with an outside threat off the bench.
Where will he end up being taken?
"I hear sometimes late lottery/mid first round," Klay said at the combine.