In the last week two articles have been published online discussing how Brett Brown believes wingman Hollis Thompson is “a keeper” and foreshadowing a potential vital role in the future of this franchise for this 76er rookie. At the end of January, I wrote a post saying that Thompson deserved a roster spot next year and maybe, just maybe, if he put in a great deal of work, Thompson could become a James Posey type player.
While I still believe that is a possibility, I am also cautioning Philadunkia nation to temper their expectations for the former Georgetown Hoya, because in reality Thompson is simply a decent young prospect in one of the worst rookie classes in recent NBA history.
Let me start off by saying that Thompson has exceeded expectations and could potentially come off the bench as a key perimeter defender for 7-6 in the future. Having said that, let’s put Thompson’s rookie season in perspective. Thompson currently averages 5.8 ppg. which ranks him 13th among the rookie class this year. Thompson also averages .8 APG and 3.4 RPG in about 21 minutes per game while shooting 34.6% from three point range (3rd among rookies) and 46.5% from the field. That shooting percentage ranks him 4th among rookies who have played in 40+ games this season. Through 56 games of his first season in the NBA, Thompson owns a 55.2 TS% which ranks him 4th among rookies who have taken the court for at least 40 games. If you raise that games played minimum to 50, only Tim Hardaway, Jr. and his TS% of 55.4 rank ahead of Thompson’s advanced number.
Thompson’s stats are impressive in comparison to the rest of this year’s rookie class but the BIG thing you have to remember is, so far this rookie class has been terrible and everyone knows it. Don’t use an argument comparing Thompson’s performance with that of Anthony Bennett, the number one pick in the 2013 Draft, because I won’t be impressed. Once you make it past Michael Carter-Williams, Victor Oladipo and Trey Burke, the rest of the “top” rookies in the class of 2014 the eye test tells you the rest of the group looks like decent role players at best. Potentially, the current rookie class contains just two bonafide NBA stars, Carter-Williams and Oladipo.
In comparison, via the eye test, the 2013 rookie class boasts six players who could realistically reach multiple all-star status in their careers. Those players are Damian Lillard (current All-Star), Anthony Davis (current All-Star), Bradley Beal, Andre Drummond, T and Terrence Jones and Dion Waiters (possible stretch there).
If you take a statistical approach when comparing Thompson performance this season to the 2013 rookie class, his 46.5% field goal percentage would place him 13th among that rookie class (40 game minimum) and his 55.2 TS% would rank him 11th. Those are still solid rankings, but they are also sizable drops from his standings in the current rookie class.
I understand that the 76ers got a steal in Thompson. Additionally, I can relate to the idea that right now journalists who cover the franchise are desperate for something positive to write about. However, with a dramatic overhaul of this roster looming, there is a distinct possibility that Thompson will not be here in 2014-15 . Sam Hinkie has two first round picks and five second round picks in what has been labeled by some as the ‘greatest draft ever’. It’s likely that Hinkie will package a few of those second round picks to acquire a late 1st rounder this June. So what happens to Thompson’s spot on the roster after the draft dust settles and three 1st round picks walk into 76ers training camp?
Than there is the salary cap. Hinkie will have about thirty million to play with for free agents. You can bet that either one giant signing or multiple significant ones will be made this summer. With a influx of top talent coming in via the 2014 Draft and one or two important pieces added to this roster via free agency, Thompson will likely be the odd man out. If somehow he is able to make the roster in 2014-15, Thompson will see significantly less playing time and even less shooting opportunities.
Granted, next year Thompson could still impress in limited minutes off Brett Brown’s bench, but after reconsidering his skill set and the Sixers long term situation, I don’t think he will be as valuable to this team in the future as Brown and the mainstream media were predicting this week.
Alex Gorge is a scribe for Philadunkia. You can follow him on Twitter @apg3000.
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