Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The 2011 Rookies: A Raptor In Disguise - Tristan Thompson CANADIAN Edition



So this year, the folks at Hoops N Hip-Hop will be behind a feature called "2011 Rookies: A Raptor In Disguise". Leading up to the draft, a new article will be posted up on the GamePointBlog and RaptorSpace, introducing and analyzing every rookie that will be within range of the Raptors' 5th overall pick. Though much is uncertain, we know one thing for sure, one of these players will be asked the question every rookie dreams of hearing: "Are you concerned about the taxes up there in Canada?"

And in this player's case - we know it won't be a problem at all.

Meet Tristan Thompson of University of Texas



Age: 20
Nationality: Canadian
Height: 6'8
Weight: 225
Position: Power Forward

Hoops N Hip-Hop Co-Host and Writer DeeJae Johnson



Coming straight out of Toronto, and possibly joining the Raptors on draft day, Tristan Thompson is looking to prove that home cooking is best served…at home. Described as a player with a super motor and a knack from rebounding, and he’s not bad at defense either. The Texas Longhorn averaged 13 points, eight rebounds and two blocks in 30 minutes of play. Thompson’s remarkable play led him to accumulate many awards such as Big 12 Freshman of the year and was also named to the Big 12 All-Defensive Team. Described as a “tweener”, Thompson could be seen as a Small or Power Forward, but because of his lack of perimeter skills, he is more so projected to be better suited at the four. If Toronto were to draft Thompson, he would be the first Canadian born player to play for the organization. My concern with drafting Thompson is or immense amount of power forwards (not to mention Brian Colangelo is looking to acquire a rebounding big to help slide Andrea to the four). There isn’t much sense to draft him, but he will be a remarkable player in the right system if they allow him to focus on developing an NBA body and to better his rebounding and defensive skills. If he can translate his Texas record setting block party (against The Oakland Grizzles) in the NBA, he’ll do just fine.




Hoops N Hip-Hop Producer and Writer Rose Arcana



This is more of a hat tip of recognition than a real prospect for the Raptors. Yes he came to a work out and he was well liked by the media, of course, he’s Canadian! However his chances of going as high as #5 in the draft are extremely low to non-existent.

Tristan is a nice off ball player who has a unique ability to get to the line, although his FT% needs a lot of work. His athleticism makes him fun to watch and his wingspan can mean trouble for anyone trying to get past him. He was able to produce 10 double-doubles and align himself as one of the top big men in the Big 12. Oh and did I mention he can block and steal? Pleasantries aside he is a bit raw and is in need of a lot of help. His NBA readiness isn’t where it needs to be but he does have a nice upside and an energy about him that will liven up even the Spurs court.

Sadly Tristan Thompson will not be a Raptor at pick #5, however if he is still around at 14 maybe he can come to my home town where he will have to learn that Texas is a STATE and not a CITY! I would welcome him with open arms either way!




Kris Cuaresma's Conclusion

Strengths: Above average wingspan, aggressive rebounder, battles for position, quick and explosive second bounce, good athleticism, good hands allow him to run the pick and roll effectively, good timing in regards to blocking shots; gets to the free throw line

Weaknesses: questions about position, undersized as a 5 and a 4, not confident with his face up game, did not show consistent ability to create his own shot, needs to improve free throw percentage; needs to improve finishing at the rim

Though the consensus is that the Raptors will likely pass on Thompson at 5, we felt like we'd include him on this because it's not everyday that you get to associate a Canadian lottery pick with the Toronto Raptors. Call it what you want, but we're proud of TT and want him to succeed wherever he lands.

What you're getting with Tristan is simple - a hard working big who uses hustle and energy to affect both sides of the court. He won't wow you with finesse offensively, but he'll always be in the mix for an offensive rebound or putback. On the defensive end, he was all over the glass and established himself as the team's paint presence (Blocked a Texas NCAA Tournament record 7 shots).

Will the Raps draft him at 5? Probably not. And the biggest reason is that we currently have a logjam at the 4 spot. On top of that, the Raptors are such in need of any talent at the other positions, that it wouldn't be in the franchise's best interest. If we're going to draft our first Canadian player, it may have to wait until next year when Myck Kabongo declares.

Where will Tristan Thompson go? There are several spots I can see TT going. The earliest would be Detroit where they could pair him up with Monroe. And then anywhere from 9-11 would all be likely spots as well. The furthest I see him dropping is at 13 to the Suns where they already have good experience with Canadian players.

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