The starting shooting guard spot on the Philadelphia 76ers has yet to be set in stone. We should hope Nik Stauskas wins the job in order to fully gauge the second-year player’s potential, but it’s not a certainty. His primary competition is Hollis Thompson, and he is this week’s focus in this series of player evaluations.
Thompson, a 6-foot-8, 206-pound swingman, is entering his third year, all of which have been in Philly. He split time between starting and coming off the bench his first two seasons, providing strong 3-point shooting and decent defense. But the big question is whether he can emerge as a valuable long-term piece in the 76ers’ rebuilding efforts.
So far, Thomson’s biggest attribute has been his 3-point shooting, having shot 40 percent from beyond the arc in each of his two seasons. He actually led all rookies a couple years ago in 3-point percentage with at least 100 attempts. Taking more 3-pointers in his second season while still shooting the same percentage was encouraging, as well as his 46-percent mark after the All-Star break. Keep in mind that he set a Georgetown record by drilling 44 percent of his 3-pointers for the Hoyas. In all, Thompson averaged 8.8 points per game last year with a PER of 10.98.
Defensively, Thompson has the size and length to make an impact defending perimeter players. Thus, he could be best suited as a “3 and D” player for the Sixers. He’s not a liability on defense, but he still has work to do in order to suit this role. Like most current Sixers, he needs to develop a stronger basketball IQ on the defensive end and determine when to be more versus less aggressive.
He could improve his offense by making more shots off the dribble, as nearly all of his points have come via catch-and-shoot. Besides that aspect, though, it’s tough to see Thompson as any more than a 3 and D player. His development over time will dictate how well he succeeds in this role, which could result in a long-term starting job. But more likely than not, he doesn’t have enough talent to be more than an end-of-the-rotation player.