After a 24-point, eight-rebound outing against the Celtics in preseason, it looked as if Trey Thompkins was about to have a great season for Real Madrid and either earn a lucrative extension or get his way back to the NBA. It didn’t quite turn out that way, as the 26-year-old had mostly an up-and-down campaign against a higher level of competition than he was used to, ending up logging just 888 minutes throughout the year.
But Thompkins did very well in the ACB Finals with a plus-25 performance in 74 minutes over the four-game series and will return to Madrid next season, after it seemed for a while there that the club might have been inclined to move on.
The appeal with Thompkins regards his multi-dimensional skill-set on offense. Though NBA teams are more or less over the pure stretch four, that position is still a commodity among the European powerhouses and Thompkins fits that profile.
His release is bit methodical and he struggles when an opponent rushes his shot but Thompkins proved himself a pretty good standstill open-shot shooter, nailing 47.9% of his 121 three-point shots – according to RealGM. He is not, however, the sort of shooter who can come off screens and wasn’t given much opportunity to work in the pick-and-pop.
Thompkins didn’t show much prolificacy working off the bounce attacking closeouts and didn’t show to be a particularly instinctive passer. He wasn’t put in the pick-and-roll late in the season, as he was often paired with Gustavo Ayon, who can’t space the floor if he is away from the ball. His role as a floor spacer also made him a non-factor in the glass.
But he balanced his outside scoring with post-up scoring, proving able to post up in a pinch within the flow of the offense or late in the shot clock. Thompkins has strength in his 245-pound frame to establish deep position and bully most power forwards at the European level to get good looks within close range.
He’s shown pretty fluid footwork on a turnaround-fadeaway short jumper, nice touch on non-dunk finishes, shot-fakes to get his shot off against lengthier defenders and the ability to finish through contact. Thompkins failed, though, to draw shooting fouls at an acceptable level, taking a jaw-dropping 32 free throws in 50 appearances.
Defensively, Thompkins proved himself a better perimeter defender than interior defender against the highest level of competition in Europe, showing to be a not particularly instinctive help defender and a below average rebounder.
Guarding on the outside, Thompkins proved himself able to bend his knees to get in a stance and agile enough to keep pace with face up big men, possessing strength to contain dribble penetration through contact and length to contest mid-range jump-shots very effectively. It’s unclear how much switch ability he offers, though his athleticism suggests he should be some sort of asset.
Thompkins, however, didn’t do that well guarding some of the better shooting big men in the continent; he has the quickness to prevent a catch-and-shoot three-point shot and stay in front off the dribble but often closes out off balance and gives up a path for them to attack the lane off the bounce, aside from struggling navigating side screens.
Editor’s Note: Rafael Uehara is the managing editor of ‘Basketball Scouting’. More of his work can be found here or at Upside & Motor and at RealGM, where he is a regular contributor. He can be followed on twitter as @rafael_uehara