2011 NBA Draft Combine Coverage: Tristan Thompson Benefits from Weak Draft Class - June 17
Tristan Thompson is one of the many prospects in the 2011 NBA Draft that will greatly capitalize from some of the top prospects in college basketball returning to school. The decisions of blue-chip prospects like Harrison Barnes, Jared Sullinger and Perry Jones to return to school will end up making Thompson a ton of money.
With those likely top 10 picks staying in school, Thompson now ends up being a mid-to-late lottery pick even though he is likely not ready to contribute major minutes right away.
"There are probably 25 guys that have been told they're lottery picks, but only 14 that actually are," Thompson said at the 2011 NBA Draft Combine. "I think it comes down to your workotus and how you produce in comparison to the guys that are at your position."
When the Longhorns lost to Arizona in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, the Canadian-born Thompson originally said he would return to Texas for his sophomore season, but ultimately changed his mind.
"A lot of student athletes like myself got caught up in the whole March Madness hype, but after the tournament was over I got a chance to sit down with my family, go over the pros and cons,". Thompson said. "I thought it would be in my best interest to become a professional."
The 6-9, 227-pound, one-and-done freshman is considered one of the most aggressive rebounders in this draft class, especially on the offensive end. That is helped by a lengthy 7-1 wingspan.
"It's one of my tools, one of my strong points," Thompson said of his ability to crash the boards. "Getting my team an extra possession, I feel if you can put pressure on the defense by getting the big guys in foul trouble."
Thompson's offensive game is very much a work in progress. While he does have a nice back-to-the basket game including a turnaround jump shot over either shoulder, his jump shot needs a lot of work including an incredibly flat free throw shot.
"I feel it's one of my priorities especially in the NBA, you have to be able to make a jump shot, especially at my position a 12- to 15-foot jump shot," Thompson said. "Me and Coach (John) Lucas have spent countless hours shooting, definitely grooving the form, been on the gun and shooting off the pick and pop."
Thompson's spot on teams' draft boards seems to range from mid-lottery to possibly falling to the mid-teens. Washington could take a look at him with the sixth overall pick, but I would not be shocked to see him fall as low as No. 16 to Philadelphia.