There is indeed a former Georgetown player rated among the top NBA rookies this season. Just not the one we assumed it would be.
This isn't about knocking Otto Porter, who essentially is still making the college-to-pro game adjustment after sitting all of training camp and the early portions of the season with a hip injury. No, this is about offering props to Hollis Thompson, something the league's site has done recently.
Earlier this month we looked at the 76ers swingman's journey to the NBA, which included a D-League stunt after going undrafted in 2012. At that stage of the season, it was simply cool to note that the Hoyas' all-time leading 3-point shooter had latched on with Philadelphia. Thompson has done more than just hang around since then.
Last week NBA.com's Rookie Ladder placed the 6-foot-8 Thompson sixth among all first-year players. The numbers aren't gaudy, but Thompson is playing big minutes for Philadelphia along with Rookie of the Year contender Michael Carter-Williams. He's averaging 21 per game, but recently played at least 30 in consecutive contests including 36 on Dec. 14 when he scored 17 against Portland. Overall, the Southern California native is averaging 6.0 points and 3.6 rebounds while shooting 35.3 percent from beyond the arc.
"The scoring outburst was his only double-digit scoring game in the last five, but he continues to see big minutes. If he can consistently hit from beyond the arc -- he's currently 34 percent on the season -- he could stick in the rotation as the Sixers build for the future."
The surprising part of this only comes from how Thompson is faring against other rookies, not that he's carving out a role in the NBA. Having covered him during his three seasons with the Hoyas, I advocated the Wizards looking at Thompson in the second round of the 2012 draft or at least offering him a training camp invitation. Yes, the form on his textbook jumper is that pretty. From Thompson's CSN draft profile:
The summation: I'm an admitted believer in Thompson's skill set- though a bigger believer in how landing with the proper team is a major factor when it comes to a non first-rounders finding a home. Even if the Wizards select Bradley Beal at No. 3, their outside shooting issues remain, up front anyway. Thompson's game is a touch one-dimensional right now, but it's a dimension this team needs and one he's consistently delivered. Does that mean the Wizards should draft him at 32? No, not really though I for one won't rip them if they should and certainly would be in favor of them extending a summer league invitation. Thompson's shot is NBA-ready, though perhaps his overall game would benefit from playing extended minutes overseas or in the D-League."
Of course, 26 games into a season does not make a career. Philadelphia provided a soft landing spot because the team clearly has more interest in landing in the lottery than the postseason. Regardless for Thompson, so far, so good.