Now at the end of Jason Thompson's second season, I thought it would be worthwhile to do a quick comparison between him and some of the other big men that the Kings passed up in the '08 draft to take JT. At the time, most people were expecting Petrie to go with someone like Anthony Randolph, Roy Hibbert, Marreese Speights or even Darrell Arthur. Given the low regard that most experts (not including GP) held JT in prior to the draft, I think it's safe to say he has exceeded expectations, even if you find yourself frustrated with his overall play. But I wanted to see how he has done relative to his '08 peer group, just to see if we should have any buyer's remorse in hindsight.
So, looking at Pts/Rebs/FG%/Blks, here's how they all did in the '09-'10 season:
Thompson: 12.5 / 8.5 / 47% / 1
Speights: 8.6 / 4.1 / 48% / 0.5
Hibbert: 11.7 / 5.7 / 50% / 1.6
Arthur: 4.5 / 3.4 / 43% / 0.4
Randolph*: 11.6 / 6.5 / 44% / 1.5
* AR in an injury-shortened season.
The results are pretty satisfying. JT outscored and outrebounded all these guys. Speights and Hibbert had a little bit better FG%, but not by much. Hibbert gets more blocks, which is to be expected. Randolph was half a block better, but what you gain in Randolph's athleticism, you lose in his rebounding prowess/ability (-2).
There's a long way to go in the careers of each of these guys. And Randoph still has major breakthrough potential, more so than anybody else on this list. I think Hibbert will continue to improve at a marginal rate as well. But these numbers confirm that Petrie knew what he was doing with the 12th pick two years ago. I think that JT will continue to make marginal improvements, though his upside is limited. I think he'll be a good back-up PF for us, and I have no complaints having him in that role going forward.
Now, about that starting center position...