2012 Clippers Exit Interviews -- Trey Thompkins

This is the second of our Clips Nation "exit interviews" of the 2012 Los Angeles Clippers., an overview and analysis, player by player, of all 15 Clippers who finished the 2011-2012 season on the roster. Yesterday, Steve led off with little used rookie guard Travis Leslie. Today, we've got slightly more used rookie forward Trey Thompkins.

Name: Trey Thompkins

2011-2012 Key Stats: 2.4 ppg, 1.0.rpg, 0.1 apg, 5.0mpg (in 24 games)

Age: 22

Years in the NBA: 1

Years with the Clippers: 1

2011-2012 Salary: $535,,000

Contract Status: Signed through 2014, with the first two years guaranteed.

In a Nutshell

The Clippers drafted Trey Thompkins out of Georgia in the early portion of the second round of the 2011 draft, 36th overall. The team didn't have a first round draft pick, so Thompkins and fellow second round pick (and fellow Georgia teammate Travis Leslie) represented the rookie class for the Clippers.

Even though not much is expected of 2nd round rookies a lot of Clipper fans looked to Thompkins to get minutes as an elusive "stretch four", Thompkins hardly played, racking up a puny 119 minutes over only 24 games. Of course those minutes were more than twice as much as fellow rookie Leslie, drafted 11 spots behind him, and it all pretty much happened in garbage time anyway.

Unlike Leslie, Thompkins spent all of his time with the NBA club and none playing in the D-league. Is that significant? Did Thompkins stay with the team because he played an important role in practice or played significantly better than Leslie? Your guess is as good as mine.

What we know is that head coach Vinny Del Negro didn't have enough confidence in Thompkins game to give him many minutes.

Strengths

Thompkins is tall, six-ten, though not particularly athletic, with long arms. We know, that, at least by reputation and judging by his overall college career, he's a pretty decent shooter, with a smooth stroke. Although the sample size is critically small, it's interesting Thompkins Per-36 levels are actually decent, 17.3 points and 7.3 rebounds (all admittedly attained against suspicious competition).

Weaknesses

For a player who was drafted as a power forward, Thompkins seems rather soft. Though he grabbed a few rebounds, he's not exactly a rigorous ball-hawk. Despite his height and broad shoulders, coming out of college, there were many critics who were suspect of his conditioning.

One can hope that Thompkins year riding the pine in the NBA and his association with a vigorous off-season worker like Blake Griffin will help his game, and he will develop quickly. Right now it seems with a little effort, he could develop into a Brian Cook-like player, a long front-court shooter and somewhat useful tenth or eleventh man, . But with a little more effort Thompkins could be something rather more, a much needed long defender and a solid contributor on the offensive end.

Future with the Clippers

Thompkins signed a three year contract with the Clippers -- with the first two season guaranteed... though the numbers are low enough so that, should Thompkins not improve through summer league or training camp, the Clippers might rather painlessly cut him from the roster.

It tells you something that the Clippers spent the first half of the season this past year desperately searching for help in the front court, and Thompkins remained the last big men off the bench for the entire year. Is that the product of a head coach who doesn't like to play rookies, or the result of a player with something less than NBA abilities?

Does Trey Thompkins fit in with the Clipper's future plans? At this point, that seems entirely up to him. With a guaranteed contract next year, Thompkins is likely to make the Clipper roster. But will he sit at the end of the bench and watch, will he find a spot in the rotation, or will he be replaced by the next crop of rookies?

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