Although former Ohio State forward Sam Thompson was not drafted on Thursday night during the 2015 NBA Draft, he will be playing for an NBA team this summer in the 2015 NBA Summer League. Thompson will be playing with the Philadelphia 76ers in hopes of landing on an NBA roster.
Although most known for his acrobatic dunk attempts, Thompson has developed into a versatile small forward during his four-year college career. In 2014-15, his senior season, Thompson averaged 10.2 points and 3.9 rebounds per game while playing in 32.5 minutes per game. That kind of production doesn't jump off the page, especially when compared with fellow Buckeye draft prospect D'Angelo Russell, but NBA teams are always looking for athleticism, and that's an area where Thompson excels.
It's going to take more than that, however, to crack the 76ers' roster. Thompson has got to prove his worth on defense and his jump shot accuracy to stick around as more than a slam-dunking curiosity. Averaging nearly two-and-a-half attempts per game from beyond the arc last season, Thompson connected on just 26 percent. That's not going to cut it in the NBA, where every wing player needs to be able to hit open three-point shots with regularity.
There' still hope for Thompson, though, if he can use his athleticism to draw fouls and create free throw opportunities. Between his junior and senior season, Thompson boosted his free throw percentage from 62 to 69 percent while drawing three fouls per 40 minutes. To become an impact player in the NBA, Thompson needs to prove he's a great defender while at the same time improving his offensive perimeter game.