After surprisingly declaring for the 2011 NBA Draft following his sophomore season, Georgetown's Hollis Thompson
ultimately decided to withdraw his name and return for his junior year, where he's continued to show steady improvement, while increasing his scoring and taking on a larger role for the Hoyas.
Thompson spent quite a bit of time playing as a face-up power forward in his first two seasons, but has been operating more on the wing as a small forward as a junior, where his game and physical attributes are better suited. Standing at 6-8 with a wiry frame that has improved since arriving at Georgetown, and a solid 6-10 wingspan, Thompson is a smooth athlete who is more comfortable on the perimeter on both ends of the floor.
As an NBA prospect, Thompson's calling card is his perimeter shooting, where he's proven to be outstanding, knocking down a career-high 48% from 3-point range this season, despite an increase in attempts. He has textbook form, deep range, and a quick release, which along with his size at 6'8, allow him to get off his shot without needing much space. Thompson ranks as one of the best shooters in college basketball
, which in and of itself is enough to put him firmly on the NBA radar.
Thompson does most of his damage spotting up with his feet set, but he's also shown that he's capable of being run off screens, where he squares himself up nicely for his jumper. In addition to his catch-and-shoot abilities, Thompson is also very effective shooting off of a dribble or two on close-outs, connecting on an excellent 42% of his pull-up jumpers this season.
Thompson has become slightly less dimensional every year, taking a lesser proportion of his shots outside the arc in each of his three seasons in college, but still can't be considered anything more than an average shot-creator at best. He lacks the explosive first step and advanced ball-handling moves to get by his man off the dribble, only getting to the free throw line 2.8 times per-40 minutes pace adjusted, which is one of the worst rates amongst players in our Top-100 rankings.
With that said, he seems to play within himself and understands his limitations, turning the ball over on only 13% of his possessions and making 52% of his shots inside the arc, which could bode well for his potential as a role player at the NBA level, where he'd likely be utilized mainly as a floor spacer, spot shooter and opportunistic scorer.
Much of Thompson's potential to carve out a niche at the NBA level could depend on how well he's able to play on the defensive end. As we've mentioned before, his size and length are sufficient, but he's not a standout athlete, and he could still stand to add some strength to his frame to defend NBA small forwards on a regular basis.
He's been able to spend more time defending on the perimeter this season, and while he doesn't appear to be the toughest player, and is not immune to getting beat off the dribble at times, he does put a solid effort in, seems to understand positioning, and does a good job contesting shots with his footwork and length. Considering his size and wingspan, he shouldn't too have too much of an issue defending most NBA caliber small forwards, which is something teams will likely want to study more in private workout settings. The improvements he's shown on this end of the floor have been quite promising this season, though.
Overall, Thompson is a prospect who clearly has a skill to hang his hat on with his outstanding perimeter shooting. His average ball-handling skills may limit his upside in the eyes of some NBA scouts, but if he can continue to prove himself as a capable defender and make some slight improvements to his offensive game to increase his versatility, he has a great chance of carving out a niche in the league. NBA teams are always looking for perimeter shooters with prototypical size who can space the floor, and at age 20, it isn't a stretch to say that Thompson may not be a finished product.