Sixers Stay or Go Series: Hollis Thompson

I seem to have been very generous with the Sixers players that I have evaluated thus far. I have decided to keep all four of the players I’ve looked at, even James Anderson, who I have consistently criticized since becoming a Sixer. Next is the 5th and final starter from last year’s squad, SF/SG Hollis Thompson. Last year was Thompson’s rookie season after being undrafted out of Georgetown. He can be used as either a very tall shooting guard or regular size small forward, but seemed to play a combo last year. The Sixers never really had a true small forward after Evan Turner left, but Thompson attempted to fill that role.

To be honest, there really wasn’t anything too special about Thompson’s play. He managed to play in 71 games for the Sixers last year, tallying 41 starts. But he falls into one category of a player that I dislike: a starter that barely plays. Even though he started for half the season, he only averaged 22.6 minutes per game. That’s less than half of the game, and a lot less than the average starter. What’s the point of starting a guy that barely does anything? One major problem with the Sixers last year (especially after the trade deadline) was that they gave a lot of backups a lot of playing time, making a lot of players’ stats look better than they really should be. But with Thompson, this wasn’t even the case.

By the end of the season, he could once in a while be counted on to make a few 3-pointers, shooting just over 40% from beyond the arc to finish the season. But he only attempted 2.2 3’s a game. What’s wrong with this situation? Well, either he is too shy to take more shots, or they don’t let him take enough 3’s. I’m perfectly content with a guy coming off the bench and taking a bunch of 3’s if that’s his specialty, because more often than not, he’ll catch fire and provide a great spark off the bench. But since Thompson started the game and then barely played at all in general, that strategy wasn’t applicable.

Since Thompson provides very little help in any other category, he’s going to need to focus on what he’s good at to get minutes. I’m totally fine with a player like Thompson getting about 20 minutes a game, but not as a starter. A guy who can only make 3-pointers and do nothing else is not a starting caliber player. In the future, Thompson would be best placed in a bench role where he belongs, and coming into games to make a couple quick 3’s, then go back to the bench. He was the total opposite of a volume shooter this past year, but he might have the tools to be a volume 3-point shooter because of his size. Playing SG with a height of 6’8″ is a huge advantage.

Now, Thompson made under $500k last year and is a free agent this offseason. Is he worth keeping around for another year? Well, probably not. He had one of the lowest PER ratings on the team (9.5). If he’s that inefficient as a starter, he probably won’t be much better with less minutes in a reduced role.

Verdict: let him go, don’t re-sign him

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