Know the Prospect: Klay Thompson

As per request by semsemma, next on our cavalcade of prospects is Klay Thompson, a sweet-shooting guard out of Washington State.  While looking over the Knicks' roster, there is definitely a lack of depth at guard.  Would drafting a rookie solve that depth issue, or would cheap vets be a better option?  Either way, Thompson is projected to go in the vicinity of our draft pick, and you can never have enough shooters, especially in a system like Mike D'Antoni's.  Bloc Party even dedicated a song to him! (but there is an egregious error in spelling by the band...)  OK enough stalling, let's jump around and get schooled on Mr. Thompson.  

Klay Alexander Thompson is a junior shooting guard at Washington State University and will be leaving school early to the locked out greener pastures of the NBA.  What exactly can this young man do?  He can score and he can shoot.  During his time at Wazzu, his scoring average increased in each of his three seasons, culminating in a nice 21.6 PPG last season (which led the Pac-10).  His shooting percentages are admirable too.  He had some gaudy percentages his freshman year (42% FG, 90% FT, 41% 3P) and they all dipped a bit after that because of much higher usage the next two seasons, but they were still respectable.  He had his highest FG% of his career last season at 43.6% and got his 3P% back up to 40%.  He can do more than just shoot, but we'll get to that in a bit.

The run-down:

Measurements: Height - 6'6"; Weight - 200ish, maybe 210 dripping wet; Vertical and Wingspan - Both unknown, but he is a pretty lanky kid, kind of like that dude from "Adventure Time.

Projected Draft Position (as of right now): 15 at NBADraft.net, 18 on DraftExpress.com, 14 at HoopsHype.com, 18 on ProBasketballDraft.com

Actual Draft Profiles: DraftExpress.comNBADraft.netStatSheet stuffWashington St. player profile.   

Amateur Take-Offense: Thompson is one heck of a scorer, and he can do more than just shoot.  In addition to that sweet stroke (pause), Thompson is crafty off the dribble and can get to the lane and the line using his length and guile.  He shot 185 FTs his junior year, good for over a quarter of Washington State's total.  Thompson doesn't possess the elite athleticism or quickness you would look for in a shooting guard, but his length helps to make up for it and he uses it to get a high release on his shot.  He put up some insane lines this season, busting out for 31 points against the staunch defenders of Butler, 35 points against Portland, 36 against Cal, and 43 in a two-point loss to Washington.  He can score in bunches.  Because he had the ball in his hands so much, his assist totals rose each season, ending up at a respectable 3.7 APG and a couple of games with nine assists.  

Amateur Take-Defense: Thompson struggles a little bit defensively because of the aforementioned lack of athleticism.  He will have a hard time staying in front of athletic guards at the next level, but he is also crafty on this end as well.  He averaged 1.6 SPG last season, good for fifth in the Pac-10, and his length helps him on that front.  He is a decent rebounder for a guard.  Thompson averaged a little over 5 rebounds again the last two seasons, but he had a couple double-doubles last year.  You could say rebounding isn't foreign to him.  He's certainly not the Landriest rebounder, though.

Comparison: NBADraft.net compares him to Marco Belinelli.  While I like that spicy meatball, I would like a better player.  A good comparison escapes, me.

The Clyde Factor: It's pretty tough to mess up "Klay Thompson."  Maybe Clyde could call him "Klayton."  Maybe something with "Klay-mation" or if his prowess for picking pockets continues, something with "klepto" at the front.  He also doesn't possess a nickname.

Link-oln Logs:

  • Thompson has very good genes.  His older brother, Mychel, played basketball at Pepperdine University.  His younger brother, Trayce, was selected by the White Sox in the second round of the 2009 MLB Draft and is currently in their minor league system.  Oh, and his father, Mychal Thompson, was a former overall number-one draft pick of the Trailblazers and a three-time champion with the Lakers.  This wasn't one of his father's best moments though.  
  • Bud Withers at The Seattle Times wonders what Thompson's legacy at Wazzu will be when it's all said and done.
  • One blip on the character radar showed up last season.  Thompson was cited and charged with marijuana possession before the team's final game.  If you read down in the article, you discover that Pops wasn't happy with that one.  Nothing crazy here, especially with what happened to Wilson Chandler last season. 

 

Video Time:

Klay Thompson of Washington State U - Record 43 Points - Pac10 Tournament 2011 (via argus1948)

Klay Thompson - SportsCenter #1 play (via Orangekid13) He can get up and do things in the air, too.

Klay Thompson slam (via BostonCoug32) More proof of his dunking ability.

Klay Thompson's NBA Draft Video (via Cougbites) Nice highlight package, plus some blocks!

Things to Take Away:

 

  • Thompson can pretty much fill it from everywhere, and he even possesses a nice mid-range game, off the dribble, finishing at the rim, shooting from WAY deep, shooting from space, etc.
  • He even poops from the corner, just like Extra E!
  • Because he can score in a myriad of ways, he is a tough person to guard.  That makes sense, right?
  • He is indeed athletic enough to dunk basketballs, and pretty emphatically at that.
  • I wish I had his shooting form.
  • I enjoyed seeing those LeBron-style blocks from behind.  Good to know that he has that in his arsenal, should he choose to use it.
  • I wish there were some clips of his passing in any of the videos, but from all accounts he has decent court vision.

Final Thoughts: Thompson is a nice prospect, and he would definitely help the Knicks because of his offensive abilities.  He would probably step in and be the most consistent outside shooter on the roster.  However, I don't know if that is the most glaring hole the Knicks should be looking to fill with this pick.  If he is still there and others that are better fits aren't, then by all means yes, scoop him up!  I just don't know if he is the right pick for the Knicks right now, even with a lack of depth at the guard position.  What do you guys think?

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