How can Jason Thompson make us smile these last 27 games?
* Stay on the court. Foul trouble has plagued Shock & Hawes all season. But with the veterans mostly exiled, that's the only thing that can keep Thompson and Spencer Hawes off the floor. There's a real learning curve when it comes to big men and fouls: almost uniformly, second-year players who had previously suffered from foul problems see the issue slip into irrelevance. Some bigs never learn; let's pray Thompson is not in that category. (I really don't fear this. Honest.)
* Develop the left hand. A little. Everyone who has said this in recent comment threads is 100% right: if Thompson can pull off a few offensive moves with his left hand consistently, his FG% will skyrocket. He could be a 55%+ shooter. He gets so many clean looks inside thanks to his irrepressible spirit and his fantastic offensive rebounding skills. The left hand would make this that much more valuable.
* Cut down the turnovers. This tends to be another rookie problem that dissipates naturally with court time and experience. But the elite skill level of our protagonist is diminished by costly turnovers -- unforced travels, out-of-control spin moves, sloppy handles. Our guards aren't the most exacting passers, but Shock has incredible hands and shouldn't lose too many entry passes. So it's those other factors that need to be cleaned up.
* Boost the defensive rebounding. This team needs help rebounding. Thompson's incredible on the offensive glass, but could use some improvement on the defensive end. Boxing out more consistently should be a priority.
* Talk talk talk. Shock should be one of the leaders of this team on defense ... with his mouth. He has good court vision, he's a helluva smart kid, he's athletic as heck, and he hustles. That's the recipe for a great defender. Help at your teammates, call out screens and rotations ... make this team respectable at that end.
* Read Sactown Royalty. This should go without saying. (Background: Twitterer robfuscate asked J.T. if he reads StR; J.T. responded "Na usually don't read the media stuff too much out here." We aren't media stuff, man! I demand that you hang on my every pixel!)
If I haven't gotten the point across so far this season, let me reiterate that I'm really fricking excited about Shock Thompson.