The Raptors acquired former Golden State Warriors forward Jason Thompson on Monday. Who, you ask? Well, keep reading. Here’s what you should know about the newest Raptor:
The 6’11 Thompson, 29, is a former first round pick, a draft-day surprise when the Sacramento Kings selected him with the 12th overall pick in 2008. Thompson had established as one of the top power forwards in college basketball by his senior year, finishing 2nd only to Michael Beasley in rebounds per game with 12.1.
He quickly assumed an important role with the Kings, appearing in all 82 games (incl. 56 starts) in his rookie year. Through his first two years he averaged an impressive 12 points and eight rebounds, though hasn’t been able to quite match that production in the years since.
Eventually overshadowed in the Kings crowded frontcourt rotation, he was moved to Golden State over the summer (after being traded to Philadelphia for Nik Stauskas less than a month earlier). He appeared in 28 games with the Warriors this season, including one start, before being released last week in order for Golden State to make room for new addition Anderson Varejao.
No stranger to PT
While he may have averaged just 6 minutes per game buried on the Warriors bench, Thompson consistently saw the floor every other season of his career. It won’t likely mean much for the Raptors unless one of Patrick Patterson or Luis Scola goes down with injury. Then the team can at least take solace knowing it has an experienced veteran who’s able to handle extended run in Thompson, as opposed to a player still looking to prove he can play in the league in Anthony Bennett. Don't expect Thompson to play a big role for the club.
Still has it?
While his usage and production had declined steadily in Sacramento, he continued to show flashes of the player the Kings thought he’d become when drafting him in the lottery. Case in point: His 20-point/20-rebound performance in January, 2015 vs. the Los Angeles Clippers.
(As the YouTube description for this video asks: Is Jason Thompson the worst player to get a 20-20 game this millennium? Hmmm…)
Again, Thompson was brought in as a steady, proven veteran who brings a little more than half a seasons experience embedded with one of the greatest regular season basketball teams we’ve ever seen and the reigning champs. His range extends slightly passed the foul line, and he does a decent job of running the floor, but the area in which he can help the Raptors most is on the glass, where his rebounding acumen can help his new team, which currently sits 17th in the league.
It might not make the Raptors a better basketball team, but Thompson is the philanthropic type with a number of charitable interests. His Jason Thompson Foundation fights heart disease while he’s an ambassador for Canine Companions. So there’s that.