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Pacers' Draft Possibilities: Tristan Thompson

With the Draft Lottery complete, the Early Entry List set, and the NBA Draft fast approaching, it's time to examine more in depth some of the players who could be available for the Pacers. Over the next few weeks I'll be trying to put together as many profiles as possible. Instead of identifying players as specific targets for either Pacers' pick, I'm just going to cover a pool of players I think are possibilities. You'll find some players who the Pacers would likely have to trade up or down for. I've also expressed my opinion that the Pacers need to be focused on talent as much as fit so players at all five positions will be included.

These profiles are not intended to advocate for one player over another, just examine their strengths and weaknesses, and discuss in some detail what they have to offer. For each profile I provided Ten Important Statistics to guide the discussion. Today we'll be looking at:

Tristan Thompson - PF - 6'8.75"  227 lbs. - University of Texas

Ten Important Stats - Tristan Thompson





















Current DraftExpress Projection: Round 1, Pick #16


  • A little on the short side, but his excellent length and athleticism
  • Consistently plays with energy and intensity
  • Effective moving without the ball and finishing around the basket
  • Strong offensive rebounder
  • Good weak-side shot blocker
  • Has the quickness to defend perimeter-oriented power forwards


  • Needs to get stronger, particularly in the lower body, to keep from being pushed around in the post
  • Not nearly as effective on the defensive glass, struggles with fundamental positioning and consistent box outs
  • Very limited offensively, no post game to speak of, poor shooter from the perimeter and free throw line, needs his teammates to create offensive opportunities for him
  • At 20, he's bit older than most college freshman


Thompson's potential, at this point at least, far outweighs his ability to contribute in the NBA and any team looking to draft him should be patient. It would be ideal for Thompson to develop alongside of a skilled center and a creative point guard, as his energy and athleticism are by far his most attractive attributes at this stage and he will likely struggle to create or produce on his own much initially. It is far more likely, however, that he will begin his career coming off of the bench and that playing time will depend on his energy level and defensive effectiveness.
His development could follow any number of trajectories from end-of-bench rotation player to NBA starter, from Carl Landry to Luc Richard Mbah a Moute. His ceiling is arguably higher than both, however, if further develops his post skills and re-tools his jumper. The said, such development is never a given, particularly with raw post players who are two-years older than most of their classmates, as is the case with Thompson.

- Kyle Nelson,

Hickory High Comparables:

How he can help the Pacers:

  • Thompson has the potential to solve some of the Pacers' problems at power forward, but unfortunately not all of them. He is a good rebounder, although much better on the offensive glass, and an active defender. The downside is that he doesn't offer a lot in terms of scoring. He certainly has potential to develop, but appears likely to be a player who will always rely on others to create scoring opporuntities for him. A rotation of Thompson and Hansbrough, with or without McRoberts, means the Pacers will usually be sacrificing something specific, depending on which player is on the floor. Still, Thompson could fill some holes at power forward that they didn't have a way to plug last season.


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