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2015 NBA Draft: Can Ohio State's Sam Thompson Find A Spot In The NBA?

A rising star four years ago, followed by greater heights at Ohio State, Sam Thompson eager to soar at the next level.

Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

So your team opted to bring in Ohio State's Sam Thompson.  At this point, you're probably wondering what value Thompson could add to an NBA roster.  Though Thompson does not boast 1st Round potential, he could be a quality addition for numerous NBA teams.

First, let's take a look at some basic facts about Thompson.

Sam Thompson Draft Profile/NBA Breakdown:
  • NBA Position: Small Forward (3)
  • College: Ohio State
  • Class: Senior
  • Height: 6' 7"
  • Weight: 180
  • Hometown: Chicago, Illinois
  • High School: Whitney Young

A four year player for the Buckeyes, Sam "Slam" Thompson provided plenty of highlight reel with facial dunks and explosive leaping ability. He started all 35 games and logged 1,139 minutes, second only to D'Angelo Russell, his senior season. Showing steady improvement each year, Thompson topped his career averaging 10.2 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 1.8 assists for Thad Matta.

He showed flashes of brilliance at times, like when he scored 22 points in a 75-55 win over Penn State. In that game, he was 6-of-11 from the field, including 3-of-5 from beyond the arc. He canned 7-of-9 free throws and hauled down five rebounds. In the final game of his career, Thompson scored 18 points, grabbed three rebounds, and blocked two shots in a 73-58 loss to Arizona.

Thompson continues to train hard. Check out his NBA Draft Workout.

Let's take a look at Sam Thompson and see how he translates to the NBA level:

Strengths: Extremely athletic with explosive leaping ability. He can get off the ground quickly which is a plus on offensive stick-backs. He has good size and length and everything you look for in a wing prospect. He plays well above the rim and shows tremendous speed in the open floor. He has a nice shooting stroke and can knock down mid-range jumpers. Plays with great intensity on defense and can guard multiple perimeter positions. Also, he has great lateral quickness on defense. His athleticism and defensive intensity can't be ignored.

Weaknesses: Proved to be a limited shot creator, especially off the dribble. For his size and leaping ability, Thompson is an average rebounder. Needs work on the fundamentals of blocking out, locating a body. He won't be able to jump over people at the NBA level. He needs to get stronger, as most NBA prospects do. Sometimes he has difficulty finishing at the rim unless he has a sure dunk. Most NBA small forwards are excellent 3-point shooters. Thompson is below average with a 26.2 clip last season. What stands out to me is his lack of consistent play. He needs to learn how to find other ways to contribute when he has an off-shooting night.

Overall Impact: Thompson's size, athleticism, and defensive potential is off the charts, but he still needs to show potential as an offensive threat on a consistent basis. In addition, he needs to make bigger strides in his outside shooting. When all is said and done, the 22-year-old Thompson has a chance to flourish at the NBA level in a reserve role, especially if he is surrounded by better talent.