Thompson needing improvement to succeed in NBA

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NBA Draft

As a freshman, Tristan Thompson averaged 13 points and 8 rebounds a game. Thompson could be an early lottery selection.

Photo Credit: Derek Stout | Daily Texan Staff

Tristan Thompson was never expected to stay in Texas long.

After his first year with the Longhorns, Thompson decided he was ready to take his talents to the NBA. However, if a singular look at his freshman stats are any indication of his professional potential, Thompson has a bit more learning to do.

He averaged 13 points a game at Texas, which, though respectable on the college hardwood, sometimes translates into lower point production in the big boy court.

Thompson will be playing in the low post throughout most of his career, and NBA players are bigger, stronger and faster than college players. If he can’t fix this area of his game, he will need to add a jump shot to his arsenal, since his court vision is too hasty for him to be a passing big man.

Because he will likely play the low post, a position that racks up a lot of fouls, Thompson will need to hone his free throw shooting. He posted an abysmal 48 percent from the line in 2010 with the Longhorns despite reaching the charity stripe nearly 28 percent of the time he touched the ball.

What he does have going for him is his work ethic and physicality. At 20 years old, he is sprightly as well as a bruiser. He gets up and down the floor well and is quick to snag rebounds or go for the block with his 7-foot-2 wing span. He led the Longhorns last year with nearly eight rebounds a game. He also spends a great deal of personal time in the gym, shedding weight and adding muscle, which will allow him to be an active forward for a run-and-gun NBA team. That work ethic is something for general managers to salivate over.

He has a long way to go, but Thompson should be a vital forward for any squad’s second team. It is safe to say he will go in the first round, but it might not happen until the Suns pick him at No. 13 or the Pacers pick him at No. 15.