It’s time for me to admit a mistake. Earlier this season, I was really down on Jason Thompson. He was still making those rookie mistakes. This included dumb fouls 90 feet from the basket and missing those point blank shots at the rim. Most of my frustration came from knowing he has all the tools to be a very solid player. He has the body, talent, and the motor. He just kept making dumb plays.
It got to the point where I thought Darnell Jackson should be taking all of his minutes. I wanted Thompson gone. This has probably been overshadowed by the offensive explosion that is Marcus Thornton, but Thompson has started to figure it out. I’ve noticed, the past month especially, that JT is making less of those mistakes. He’s finally slowing down and playing with more control.
His stats aren’t eye-popping. He’s averaging 8.6 points and 5.7 rebounds a game on 50% shooting this season. So far in March he’s averaging 10 points and 6.6 rebounds in 28 minutes a game. But with JT, it’s not all about the stats. His endless energy doesn’t show up in the box score most of the time. Plus, it’s tough to get a lot of rebounds when you play with DeMarcus Cousins and Sam Dalembert. Thompson is playing within himself and seems to have settled into his role with the team. The trading of Carl Landry probably helped him out as well.
I’m seeing less and less dumb fouls and more shots made around the basket. I’ve especially noticed that he’s gotten much better at quickly spinning into the lane, elevating over the defender, and softly lofting the ball over the shot-blocker and into the basket. He looks calmly assertive with his moves in the paint.
All Kings fans know that it is never a question of effort with JT. He always runs the floor hard and he always goes for the tough offensive rebounds. It seems like he gives the Kings an extra possession or three every single game.
Consider me converted. I want Thompson to be part of the future of the
Anaheim Sacramento Kings. I don’t know if he’ll ever be good enough to be the starting forward next to DeMarcus Cousins, but I think he’s at least a good third big man for a playoff team. He has a unique skill set and the ability to play both the 4 and 5 spots. This is a great asset for the Kings moving south forward.