H: 6' 8"|
W: 250 lbs
(28 Years Old)
|RSCI: 45||Agent: Jim Tanner ||
High School: Torrance
Hometown: Torrance, CA
|Year||Source||Height w/o Shoes||Height w/shoes||Weight||Wingspan||Standing Reach||Body Fat||No Step Vert||Max Vert|
|2010||Portsmouth||6' 7"||NA||250||7' 2.5"||8' 11.25"||NA||NA||NA|
|Year||Source||Height w/o Shoes||Height w/shoes||Weight||Wingspan||Standing Reach||Body Fat||No Step Vert||Max Vert|
|2010||Portsmouth||6' 7"||NA||250||7' 2.5"||8' 11.25"||NA||NA||NA|
While this probably wasn’t exactly the kind of tournament he was hoping to have, we still got a pretty good chance to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of Deon Thompson.
Mostly a back to the basket post-up guy at this tournament, as he was at North Carolina, Thompson showed many of the same things he did throughout his college career here- looking fairly skilled on one hand with some of the moves he’s able to execute (turnaround jumpers, one dribble pull-ups), but also having a difficult time passing out of double teams and forcing the issue on occasion. He can get to the free throw line, but is not a particularly efficient player from the field, and may struggle to adapt his style of play to competing against bigger, stronger, longer and more athletic big men who he won’t be able to get his shot off against as easily.
He didn’t show much of a face-up game either, at least not in terms of a jump-shot, something he’ll definitely need in order to successfully convert to the power forward position at the next level.
Thompson rebounded extremely well, particularly on the offensive end where his length comes in very handy, but was mostly a non-factor on the defensive end, as he often looked reluctant to box out his opponents, and lacked a bit of fire and toughness that you might expect from a player scrapping for his professional future.
All in all, this probably wasn’t the type of showing Thompson needed in order to make scouts forget about the underwhelming senior season he had at North Carolina, and may have sealed his fate as an undrafted prospect.
Deon Thompson]Scott Nadler
After winning the 2009 National Championship, Roy Williams certainly had a tall order ahead of him, with mainly unseasoned upperclassmen and unproven freshmen and sophomores to defend the title. The one player the Tar Heels were hoping to count on for leadership and on court production was senior power forward, Deon Thompson. While he’s shown marginal improvement in his overall game, it probably hasn’t come at the rate that Coach Williams and NBA scouts were hoping for.
The most glaring weakness for Thompson as a whole is his lack of physicality on both ends of the court. As a rebounder, he averages a measly 8.6 rebounds per 40 pace adjusted (8.3 last season) which is disappointing for the well built and long armed power forward/center. He doesn’t seem to have a mean streak about him when pursuing the ball and he displays average athleticism at best.
The frustrating thing about Thompson is that he’s shown the ability to rebound in traffic and rip boards away that weren’t meant for him, but his lack of consistency in that department makes you wonder a bit. He seems to be very affected by things that go on around him, showing little in the ways of emotion or leadership you would expect from a player in his situation, especially in this, the final stages of his college career.
Thompson’s aversion for physical contact seems to translate to his post game as well, which contributes to 35% of his offense. He doesn’t get to the free throw line as much as you would hope, which is a direct result of his tendency to fadeaway on nearly every shot. He has no command in the post and often resorts to turnaround jumpers as opposed to backing his man in and utilizing head fakes, drop steps or up and unders. Additionally, he has shown no signs of a left hand, be it in a jump hook or even around the rim – something you would expect to see from a senior.
With that said, he does a good job at finishing around the basket, which has been one of his strengths - converting on 57.3% of his shots at the rim this season. He has excellent touch, length and hands, all things that make him somewhat of a rare commodity amongst NCAA big men. The mechanics on his shot are also impressive, showing a very high release point and range that extends out to about 17 feet. And despite the predictability in his post game, he’s highly capable of knocking down those turnaround jump shots, off either shoulder to boot.
Perhaps the reason as to why he takes quick shots in the post is due to his poor passing ability. He ranks as one of the worst passers amongst players currently projected to be drafted, and generally has a hard time finding cutters or wide open stand still shooters. When he does find the open man, it’s often a second too late, which allows the defense to recover. Thompson’s inability or unwillingness to find the open man is not a good sign considering the complimentary role he’ll be asked to play at the next level.
As a defender, his fundamentals have vastly improved over the years as written in our previous write up. He’s learned how to use his body better and move his opponent further away from the basket. His lateral quickness is still not quite at the level it needs to be, which could be a problem for him at the next stage of his career. As discussed previously, he’s not quite suited to be an NBA 4 man with the evolution that position has taken over the past several years and fits more naturally as an undersized 5 man.
With the losses continuing to pile up here at the end of the season, Thompson’s desire and will are nowhere to be found. He’s seemed disinterested these past few months to say the least and there’s little time left in the season to change things around. Thompson’s next real chance to make a big impression is at the Portsmouth Invitational in April, which he should strongly consider attending since he’ll be sitting at home for much of March. With a solid showing there, he could greatly improve his chances of hearing his name called on draft night.
At UNC’s media day last week, head coach Roy Williams said that leading up to this season he has been telling senior Deon Thompson he doesn’t have to be Tyler Hansbrough. The veteran coach told his big man he only needs to be himself, only a little bit better, because he has had another year to work at improving his game. Given the storied career that Hansbrough put together during his time in Chapel Hill, it would be unfair to expect that kind of production from Thompson this season. However, there is certainly a heightened sense of anticipation surrounding the fourth-year player, given how well he performed early last year when Hansbrough was out with an injury.
In the first 10 games of the season Thompson averaged more than 15 points per game, while being featured as the go-to scoring option in the frontcourt. Even after he became a secondary option upon the All-American’s return, Thompson still posted career best averages in scoring and rebounding, while increasing his shooting percentages from the season before. The biggest issue for the remaining half of the season, though – as has often been a criticism of his – was the lack of consistency the power forward showed when he wasn’t the main option inside. As a player who will not be a main offensive option at the next level, he must learn to operate without dominating the basketball whenever it comes our way.
Having analyzed Thompson a great deal already, we have certainly seen some improvements to his game since the first time we broke it down in 2007. Though he will always be undersized and lack the type of explosive athleticism you would hope to see to make up for it, the senior certainly does a better job of establishing position and using his length to help himself on the block than he did earlier in his career. He has worked himself into a very able low-post scorer at this level, as he has made nice strides with his touch and footwork, in addition to showing a chiseled frame and to aggressiveness needed to take advantage of it.
Thompson seems to have no problem turning to either shoulder on the block and can hit the turnaround jumper as well with his high release. The most notable area that he still struggles with is against bigger, longer, more physical defenders. While he can certainly finish with contact around the rim, he often has a tendency to fade away with his moves when being bodied up rather than trying to draw contact – this is evidenced by his average FTA per-40 rate last season. That doesn’t seem to stop him from trying, though, often looking like he’s forcing the issue somewhat. This may be one of the reasons Coach Williams has opted to downplay the need for Thompson to assert himself in Hansbrough-like fashion. Projecting as even more of a role player at the next level than he already is in college, Thompson could afford to display better passing ability.
When we last looked at Thompson he was receiving praise for his mid-range shooting and criticism for his ball handling skills. As his junior year progressed he continued to show pretty fluid mechanics for a frontcourt player in his shooting form, demonstrating a high and smooth – albeit slow – release. He doesn’t have the quickness or the handles to create for himself off the dribble, but certainly is a player who can score points off spot-up jumpers. Continuing to improve on this part of his game could go a long ways in convincing NBA scouts that he will be able to translate his scoring production to the NBA, where he will surely not be able to bully opposing players around the way he is often able to at the college level.
Defensively, as we mentioned in the past, Thompson has definitely improved many of the finer points of his game. He holds his position better, gives more effort and does a better job of staying on his feet with his arms up rather than biting on fakes. His lack of lateral quickness continues to be a major hindrance when it comes to stepping away from the paint, particularly on pick and roll situations, something that is vital for him to be able to defend if he wants to make it in the NBA. As of right now, he appears to be more of an undersized center than the type of dynamic power forward that have become more en vogue these days, which could definitely be a concern for some scouts. He does not appear to be a particularly strong rebounder either, averaging just over 8 boards per-40 pace adjusted, which is not going to impress most NBA scouts. Moving that production closer to (or preferably beyond) double-digits would go a long ways in helping his stock.
Thompson has had to wait three years in order to finally get his chance to shine at Carolina, something that goes with the territory of playing for arguably the top program in college basketball. Now as the veteran player in a loaded frontcourt, he will be expected to contribute in a big way. While he isn’t likely to get as many touches as he might on another team given Carolina’s loaded frontcourt, he will be expected to be a leader amongst the group. If he can show an increased ability to score in a variety of ways, without proving to be a black hole, that will go a long way to helping raise his stock. A strong senior year in a conference like the ACC could very well be enough to hear his name called come June.
Deon Thompson was about as aggressive a player as you’ll find at these tryouts, trying to make a strong move in the post or shoot a jump-shot basically every time he touched the ball. Unfortunately, he ended up forcing the issue a great deal, making some scouts wonder whether he’s something of a black hole after spinning into a double-team and getting absolutely smothered in the post by Jarvis Varnado on repeated possessions. He’s going to have to learn to play better without being the focal point of the offense, which seems to have been somewhat of an issue for him at North Carolina as well.[Read Full Article]
Our pre-season evaluation of UNC big man Deon Thompson ended with the following conclusion: “Thompson has surprised us before. It’s not out of the question that he could surprise us again.” Well, this season he has surprised us—thanks in large part due to the absence of Tyler Hansbrough. In fact, it’s hard to imagine how much Deon Thompson has improved.
For one, his averages of 14.9 ppg (58.9% FG), 7.9 rpg, 1.5 spg, 1.6 bpg are by far the best in his collegiate career, and have largely been accomplished against solid competition. Similarly, in his first two seasons, he scored in double figures just 12 times and only recorded one double double. This year, he already has two double doubles and eight straight games in double figures including a 20 point, 9 reb, 1 stl, and 1 blk performance against Patrick Patterson and Kentucky Wildcats and 19 pts, 13 reb, 2 stl, and 1 blk game against Luke Harangody and the Notre Dame. His numbers are up across the board and this year he has taken some big steps forward.
Physically, it’s the same story for Thompson. He is undersized for the NBA post and not quite athletic enough to fully compensate, running the court awkwardly and not possessing ideal lateral quickness or leaping ability. He does have a nice frame, though, which he has started to use more effectively this year.
Offensively, Thompson’s improvements can be summed up by the following statistic: his current 14.9 ppg average in 27 minutes is almost is a point higher than he scored per-40 minutes pace adjusted last season. This year, he has a more diverse offensive repertoire and has expanded his game significantly from the past two seasons. Without Tyler Hansbrough in the lineup early in the season, Thompson was forced to play more in the post, and responded with some of the most refined footwork of his career.
Combined with his soft touch around the basket, Thompson has become a very capable post scorer at the collegiate level. He can sometimes become a bit mechanical the deeper he gets into the post and occasionally looks like he could be more aggressive around the basket, but there is still time for him to work and his improvement over the summer is a good sign for future development.
Another area for Thompson to improve is his ball-handling ability, as he is far more comfortable going left than right and has trouble putting the ball on the floor without turning it over at this stage. That said, Hansbrough’s presence in the starting lineup has a tendency to stunt Thompson’s offensive effectiveness. With Hansbrough back in the middle for the Tarheels, Thompson again resorts to his arsenal of mid-range spot-up jumpshots or turnaround jumpers on the baseline. While it would be great to see him post-up more often, Thompson is shooting better from the field than ever before, boasting TS% and eFG%s of 59% (up from 50 and 48% last year) and showing far more fluid mechanics than before. His free throw shooting, on the other hand, is a different story, at a very mediocre 54%.
On the defensive end, Thompson shows better awareness, especially when guarding his man in the post. While he lacks the ideal size and athleticism to guard perimeter-oriented big men, he is putting forth more effort this year, keeping his feet active and his hands up. He also does a great job of staying in his defensive stance. His focus sometimes wanes, however, and he is still not great at defending against the pick and roll or rotating out to the wings to close out shooters. Similarly, he is boxing out more than he did in the past, but he still needs to focus on gaining position under the basket.
With Thompson, however, this season has been a night and day difference when compared to last season. This year, Thompson has emerged as a passionate player, aggressive on both ends of the floor, and an essential element of UNC’s post game. We said earlier this year that it would be a positive step if Thompson earned playing time, let alone improved all of his numbers and remained a starter.
With this in mind, Thompson has started to realize his potential and show that there is a reason to consider him a prospect down the road. He still has a long way to go, however, and consistency is still very much the key on both ends of the floor. Considering that his role in the NBA—if any—would be to come off the bench, he must show already right now that he is capable of being productive with limited minutes and playing time. If this year is any indication, though, he is well on his way to emerging as one of the breakout players of the out of conference portion of the regular season and, minus Hansbrough next year, could easily reemerge once again for the duration of the year.
Near the bottom of the ACC’s list of top prospects is Deon Thompson, who arrived in Chapel Hill with high expectations following a solid U-19 World Championships. Needless to say, after a promising freshman campaign, last season was quite a disappointment. Not only did his per-40 production stagnate despite seeing twice as many minutes, but he also failed to show scouts that he diversified his game. With Ed Davis and Luke Zeller arriving on campus, in addition to one final run with Hansbrough, minutes and possessions likely will become few and far between for the UNC junior in what is a crucial season for his professional hopes.
Physically, as we have said before, Thompson does not bring that much to the table. At 6’8 and swapping between power forward and center positions, he does not possess optimal size for NBA post. It looks like he got stronger since his freshman, but last year he did not carry himself as well, often looking flat footed in the open court, and doing nothing to refute the claims that he is a less than spectacular athlete.
Offensively, little has changed since we last wrote about Thompson. He showed an increased willingness to expand his game outside of five feet last season, albeit to mixed results. Outside of put-backs, dunks, and lay-ups, he still possesses two moves: the turnaround jumpshot and a kiss off the glass from about ten feet in. He has a very nice touch, which is promising considering his size and the fact that Tyler Hansbrough and Ed Davis will eat minutes in the low post. His willingness to use the backboard on his jumpshots is very nice, but it only helps him around the basket, as he tends to throw the ball at the glass instead of relying on his shooting mechanics from farther away. He shows a high release point on his jumpshot, but his form is slow, which does not bode well for his ability to get his shot off at the next level. In terms of footwork, the only things that Thompson looks good doing at this stage are a nice looking jumphook, which he tends to launch from his left shoulder (he drives right a remarkable 77% of the time) and a very good looking turnaround jumpshot. The problem is that he does not know how to do much else based on film; he struggled late in the season to find his offense.
Defensively, Thompson showed that he could be a solid collegiate defender, but that he has a long way to go before thinking about playing at the next level. The biggest problem seems to be his below average lateral quickness. He looked slow-footed around the perimeter and had a lot of trouble staying with perimeter-oriented power forwards last season. He does possess a nice wingspan, however, and in the post, is solid, using his body to alter shots around the rim as his 2.4 blocks per 40 minutes represents. Consistency is the key here, however, as for stretches of the game, he was a matador in the post. Developing a mean streak would do wonders for his game on this end of the floor as he simply has to prove himself in any way that he can this coming season.
Deon Thompson is a four-year player, but this season he will have to show scouts that he deserves to remain in the draft conversation. Minutes will be even harder to come in a stacked frontcourt rotation, but if he can thrive in his role and can set himself up for a solid senior campaign, we might be writing about Thompson again next year. He simply has to get better offensively and more consistent on both ends of the floor. It’s a tall order for a player who did not take advantage of his increased minutes last season, but Thompson has surprised us before. It’s not out of the question that he could surprise us again.
With the loss of Brandan Wright to the NBA, there will be plenty of opportunity available for Thompson to step in and make his presence felt for the Tarheels. He showed plenty of promise throughout the limited playing time that he received as a freshman, leaving the UNC staff feeling a little better about Wright's decision to bolt to the NBA after one lone season. He then went on to have a great summer in the U-19 World Championships, emerging as Team USA’s best player in the final crucial games.
Despite averaging less than 5 points per game, Deon showed flashes of brilliance at times for UNC. If his offensive performance versus Arizona (14 points, 6 rebounds in 23 minutes) can be more of a norm, the Tar Heels will not miss a beat in terms of putting points on the board from the power forward position.
The California native is a skilled low post player, already exhibiting two "go to" moves on the blocks. He has a smooth right handed jump hook when turning towards his left shoulder, and a feathery turnaround jump-shot when going to his right shoulder. The accuracy of both of these shots easily must be around the 75% clip, making him incredibly difficult to stop when receiving the ball in a position to utilize these moves.
Aside from those two moves, Thompson's offensive repertoire is relatively limited. He is an inconsistent shooter when facing the basket from midrange, although he seems to understand this and does not take jumpers too often. His left-hand is virtually non-existent, leaving him to use his right hand where he should use his left, occasionally resulting in his shot being blocked.
On the other end of the court, Thompson has proven to be an adequate defender in the low post. His lower body strength and length allow him to hold his own against bigger players on the blocks. The California native does struggle a bit when guarding players who prefer to face the basket, however. Perimeter oriented big men give him trouble, largely due to his marginal lateral quickness and inexperience guarding players that far from the basket.
Standing only 6-foot-8, Thompson is a bit undersized for a power forward. On the flip side, though, he possesses a massive frame and is already 240 pounds. The lengthy wingspan that Deon owns helps combat his lack of height, while he has proven to be above average in terms of running the floor, when motivated. While Thompson does a good job running the floor, he is not a very explosive leaper, playing below the rim the large portion of the time he is on the court.
After only playing 12.7 minutes per game as a freshman, Thompson will see significantly more playing time this time around. He will likely begin the season as UNC's starting power forward, and will benefit greatly from playing alongside the ACC's top big man, Tyler Hansbrough. Thompson may not wow NBA scouts in terms of upside, but will surely be a player they will keep tabs on, given his expected increased statistical production.
Perhaps the steadiest inside player on the US Team, Thompson put on a good display of his fundamentally-sound post game to help his team make it to the Final. Too much of an inside player for his size, and not really greatly athletic, Thompson is not oozing with potential, but he was pretty effective in the low post, showing nice moves with solid footwork and footspeed, while enjoying a soft touch around the rim. He uses his strong body pretty well, looking for contact and gaining room in the process. At this level of competition, that's a pretty effective strategy, as there were not many players as strong as him in the tournament. Showing limited range, Thompson can shoot from the mid-range area, and a regular option for him is even to finish from the low post with a turnaround shot. But still, he's not the most consistent guy around, particularly as he tries to move further from the basket.
Enjoying good, strong hands, Thompson led the US Team in the rebounding department, while providing a nice defensive effort.