Clippers Career: Trey was drafted with the 37th pick in the 2011 draft out of the University of Georgia. He had a nice college career, and the main reason he fell in the draft was a concern over his high percentage of body fat—and a lack of work ethic that may have led to it. The Clippers said over and over that they liked Thompkins, and that his performance in practices were terrific. Unfortunately, the 2011-2012 season was the first of the Chris Paul era, and minutes that may have been available in prior years were now going to Blake Griffin and other veterans.
Thompkins played in just 24 games his rookie season, almost entirely in garbage time, and generally looked like he had skills and could make it in the NBA eventually. Clippers fans were excited about seeing Trey in the 2012 Summer League, but he sadly suffered a bone bruise on his left knee shortly into the competition, and was forced to exit. He would not play an official basketball game for two years. Although the Clippers tried to keep him through his rehab, they eventually needed the roster spot for a player who could actually suit up, and Trey was waived on March 14, 2013.
Nizhny Novgorod: Finally, on August 4, 2014, Thompkins signed a deal with another basketball team—Russian powerhouse (in recent years) Nizhny Novgorod. Despite the fact that he hadn't played organized basketball in years, he immediately became a primary focus of the team, and was their best overall player. Over 58 games in Russian League play as well as Euroleague, Trey averaged 15.3 points and 7.7 rebounds, and was efficient while doing so. Shooting 50% from the field, 37% from three (on 3.8 attempts a game), and almost 90% from the line, Thompkins proved he was one of the best big men playing overseas.
Real Madrid: Trey parlayed his terrific year for Novgorod into a contract for perhaps the finest basketball team outside of the NBA, Real Madrid. He transitioned from being a centerpiece to more of a supporting role, dropping from 27.6 to 17.8 minutes per game, and his counting stats fell accordingly. Thompkins still shot the ball well, contributed across the board, and was a solid rotation player for the Spanish League champions. After playing as center for Novgorod, Trey reverted back to his natural power forward position for Madrid, and actually increased his three point shooting to 45.5%, albeit on fewer attempts.
The Future: While Thompkins undoubtedly played well enough over the last couple years to at least earn an NBA training camp invite, he decided to remain with Madrid, signing a two year extension in July. Although Trey remains the third big on their roster, he is guaranteed a decent amount of minutes, a steady role, and a lot more money than he would probably receive in the states. He has become everything the Clippers hoped he would be back in 2011—just not for them. As Trey is only 26, there is a chance that he could return to the NBA when his Madrid contract expires in 2018. Regardless of where he ends up, Clipper fans wish him luck.