Klay Thompson draft profile


Klay Thompson (Washington State)
6'7, 205 lbs., SG/SF

Coming out of Washington State, Klay is somewhat unknown to the casual basketball fan.  However, in basketball circles, Thompson has a chance to be one of the better players from this draft and more specifically one of the better shooters.

Offensively, Klay does well in the catch-and-shoot situations, around screens, and backdoor cuts.  He's a great shooter with NBA three point range.   He lacks the quickness and ball handling to take defenders off the dribble, but Klay can pump fake into a dribble drive pull up or jaunt to the basket where he's a crafty finisher.  However, his secondary ball-handling is very weak and will need to improve to be taken seriously by NBA wings. 

Thompson plays with great basketball IQ and scores efficiently.  As defenses adjusted to his offensive repertoire this season, he improved his passing game off the drive to set up teammates.  With his skills, I expect him to be a good all-around offensive threat.  

Defensively, Klay will struggle defending wings in isolation at the NBA level.  He lacks the athleticism to defend athletic wings with who can handle teh ball, not strong enough to fight through screens or defend post up players.  However, with his high basketball IQ, he should adapt to a scheme and play functional defense using his length;


Overall, Thompson is a lengthy wing with good height, okay athleticism, and off the charts basketball IQ.  More than likely, Klay is a mid-first round pick that will play in the NBA for a long time based on his ability to shoot. 

He is crafty enough to get some points attacking the rim if defenders close out on him too strongly in an attempt to block the jumper, but his upside as a creator is limited unless he can considerably tighten up his ball handling.

Klay is likely going to start in this league due to his efficient scoring.  While he has glaring holes in speed and strength, his strengths in shooting, skill, length, basketball IQ wrapped up with just enough athleticism should allow him to make a consistent positive impact on the court.

How well does he fit on the Bulls?

Offensively, he is lights out as a shooter and has added mid-range off the dribble to his game, the Bulls definitely need the shooting and could use someone who can dribble into the mid range or attack if the defense closes out too strong. 

Defensively, while a liability, he can at least be an average defender due to his length and he has basketball IQ to play well in Thibodeau's system.

He would be a great fit for the Bulls, but he will be out of the Bulls drafting range unless the Bulls can trade up to the mid lottery-to-late teens of the draft with their two draft picks.  

While the Bulls definitely need more scoring options on this team, unless Korver is traded, I do not see Klay getting much playing time for Coach Thibs defensive philosophy and replacing a similar, but more seasoned Korver.

While, I like Klay's game and I feel that he will be a solid player that is always a threat from the shooter's perspective, I feel it would take a lot to get up and get him.  I do not feel it would be worth giving up what it would take to get him for us.    


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  • Says something about the strength of the draft when someone whose upside is Kyle Korver is considered a lottery pick ...

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    I don't think he is like Korver in terms of overall play and ceiling, but currently coming in next year, I don't know if he would get much more playing time in Thibs system as his main gift is shooting. I should clarify that he is more athletic (though not going to blow you away), has a little better handles, and can do some unorthodox shots in the mid-range that I think will transfer to NBA.

    I will say that I think Thompson kind of seems like a Kevin Martin type player, but it will take him a couple of seasons to get major playing time for a really good NBA team.

    For a mediocre team, I think he could grow pretty quickly and be pretty good. If Kevin Martin as a rookie coming here, do you think he would get playing time for Coach Thibs on a team that is only a player away?

    With the right fit, I can see Thompson being an 18ppg scorer in 3 years from now. However, I think it will take him time to adjust to the physicality of the NBA; which is what I meant by Korver being similar right now. Sorry, really should have clarified that better.

  • In reply to kevinstates:

    Now you've got me thinking the other way, if this guy really can be Kevin Martin with average defense, even if it takes a couple of years, then that's easily a top 5 shooting guard (especially with the current top guys of Wade, Kobe, Manu & Johnson on the decline). I mean Kevin Martin is awesome offensively, it's just that he gives it all back at the other end. But if he can end up being a 18PPG efficient scorer and not be a defensive liability then that's exactly the type of player who would be a perfect fit on the Bulls.

    I know you say he's not worth what it would cost to trade up to get him, but the Bulls should really work hard to trade up and get him if he's any real chance to be that good. I'd give him playing time even if it makes the team a bit worse next year: and if GarPax want him they can make that happen regardless of Thibs by ensuring Bogans doesn't come back.

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    I think he can be Kevin Martin lite with hopefully average defense. He has the skills to be average. i don't think he will be as good of a scorer as Martin, but a similar type player in skills. I do think he will be a good shooting guard for a while though. I just think next year, his skills are going to be Kyle Korver type where teams like Boston and Heatles are going to eat up on him when he is in the game. Year 2, I expect him to turn it around. Honestly, Klay is probably one of my top 8 players in this draft. However, I am looking at it as championship next year.

    Here is what I think; last year I would do what it takes to trade up to get this guy. However, depending on the seriousness of the Bulls to win championships, and counting on Coach to play this guy a lot, you are probably looking at giving up either Korver or Brewer along with our picks to get him. My question is after we do that, is Thibs going to play him enough?

    If we were somehow to get Detroit's pick or Warriors pick for taking salary back, it's one thing, but if we are giving up a rotational player for a player that Thibs might not be ready for until another year is another question.

    If we were another year away from championship, I say go for it. However, we are right there next year with appropriate moves. With appropriate moves, unless getting lucky, we cannot move up to get him.

  • In reply to kevinstates:

    I agree it depends on the terms of the trade as to whether you pull the trigger, but if there's no deal for an established player then I think you've got to try to make the most of the draft. I don't think the free agents at the MLE (if it exists) sort of level - JR Smith and Shannon Brown being the best of the bunch - really solve the Bulls needs.

    Say if you trade Korver doesn't that mean that whoever we pick ends up playing Korver's minutes? I mean who else is left on the roster to play them? I don't think playing time is an issue if you open it up and leave room for the rookie in the rotation. I did think it was an issue in the #8 + Ben Gordon trade, because you've just added a vet at that position.

    Obviously you try to win next year, but if you take a small hit to your chances next year for a boost in later years you have to do it. The Bulls still have a pretty long window.

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    You are right, it is a risk.

    To me, without considering coaching, etc.., I would make that trade. However, with coaching, I just don't know if Thibs would play Thompson enough right away because of lack of defense and trying to teach him.

    I think Thibs would play rookies, but they have to be established in the sense of D. I just think a player like this would flourish elsewhere.

    You bring up good points though and I have heard the Bulls like him. However, I just think they are trying to use assets to get a young vet to be the difference instead of teaching a young rookie and delaying a championship a year.

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    saw this guy play a lot when I was living in Washington a few years ago... very good player... not the best defender and not sure if he fits the bulls... he is a upgrade over korver at everything except shooting, where he might be on par with or just a notch below

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    I would rate the Bulls priorities 1)getting another shot creator 2) perimeter shooting 3)everything else. Bulls have to get another shot creator, preferably someone who can do it off the dribble.

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    Kyle Korver 2.0?

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    I said before, I agreed last year with most of Kevin's top available players. My reference to Paul George in a previous profile(Nolan Smith?) was supposed to be a compliment as I thought he looked promising for a rook. Hope it came across that way.

    The thing about so many successful NBA scorers is that they are often prolific sooner/younger rather then later. In only his second season kid averaged 19ppg in a major conf./Pac-10. That's why I watched him all year. And his 2-pt field goal percentage went up every year as he became a better driver/opportunist.

    Klay Thompson was way down on draft boards for most of the year due to questions about athleticism, one hand dominant handle i.e the usual. Thompson and Reggie Jackson were both my "steal" guys. But once Perry Jones, Terrence Jones, Harrison Barnes etc. dropped out due to waiting money/uncertainty of the CBA steals became mid to upper firsts/lottery.

    Klay's athleticism is underrated for my money. At 5 plus rebounds a game from year two on, and certainly active steals numbers though not quite exceptional. The guy is a high volume three point cannologist(buries them) though he can definitely be streaky. If you look at his 2-pt field goal percentage(46.6), and 5.4 free throw attempts per game show he's a capable driver strong side. The question is: will the one on one spacing/freedom of the NBA allow even his weaker hand to be effective as a driver? Though his weak hand(his right I believe) is much better then say a James Anderson. And his exceptional three shooting will give him space/openings unlike say a Dominique Jones.

    After a pot bust for a little weed pulled over for a tailight in his own driveway I believe of all things, he apologized to his home crowd at Washington State and went off for 40-something. I like him a lot unless any background shows he hangs with law troubled friends/they are drug(busted) guys. I'd be excited if the Bulls got this kid moving up or Alec Burkes(another prolific scorer at a young age/early on). If they somehow can get Reggie Jackson at 28 ore move up a little for him that'd be nice too. Those are my guys along with JuJuan Johnson who while to his detriment is a late scoring bloomer just plain can score for a big with skill that doesn't involve his skinny ass frame i.e should translate to the NBA. And he's good character and fairly athletic.

  • In reply to MikeKeane:

    Road Warrior; don't worry as I took as a compliment.

    Let me re-phrase to the mistake of stating Korver to a couple of people. I think he is going to be a better all-around player than Korver. However, I think it will take 2-3 years. I think right now, his shooting is what will translate until he adjusts to the physicality of the NBA. What I am stating is that it would take a lot to trade up to get him, and I am not ready to do that. His skill right now is shooting and I don't see Thibs replacing Korver with a rookie that essentially will do the same thing as his main skill. Once he gets adjusted, I see him developing well and being a poor man's Kevin Martin with more passing and better D. I see him scoring around 18-20 ppg scoring at his peak with 3 assists, and hopefully average D.

  • In reply to kevinstates:

    I forgot to mention Charles Jenkins as my other guard. Yeah mid major/Hofstra, but still: Two years with volume threes at over 40%(three years over 80% from the line), and a prolific scorer from year one. Plus at 6'3 in shoes his crazy arm length/wingspan 6'7.5 makes him viable at the two. And in his final year his A/TO was 2.2 on nearly 5 assists. He's one to watch.

    With a win now atmosphere after reaching the ECF, I wonder if there's any way the Bulls draft young guys with probably no chance Thibs will play them. Noah(?) and Booz probably not going anywhere so you move the expirings with a big(Taj or Asik), and move up for Thompson or Burkes(and hope you hit on a prolific scoring SG). Then hope to pick up another better guard then you traded between Jenkins, Jackson, and Smith. And use one of the firsts for JuJuan Johnson to replace the vacated big.

  • In reply to MikeKeane:

    Love me some Charles Jenkins!

  • In reply to MikeKeane:

    NBA Draft 2011 Bulls Prediction:

    Bulls move up and draft Klay Thompson or Bulls trade for Courtney Lee

  • In reply to MikeKeane:

    Klay Thompson reminds me of Francisco Garcia of the Sacramento Kings. Good shooter, decent athleticism, acceptable defense. I dont think he's the shooter Korver but he's a better shot creator.

    The question is... is Klay Thompson better than Garcia/Korver? Because if Thompson reaches his highest potential, he could be a Brandon Roy type guy which would fit perfectly to what the Bulls need.

    Its certainly a risk because it will require the Bulls to trade up for a guy whose ceiling is difficult to figure. At the very least, you're getting a quality bench perimeter guy. But considering you'd have to trade up to get him, it may not be worth it.

  • In reply to MikeKeane:

    Chad Ford has been saying for the past few weeks in his chat that the Bulls are really high on him. Maybe they see something in him that we don't see, as they did in Taj.

  • In reply to joeacook3:

    I hope he's right. I'd love to get Klay though if we're going high enough then Marcus Morris and Alec Burkes would be tempting too.

  • In reply to MikeKeane:

    of course we need a guard/wing thus Burkes over Morris.

  • In reply to MikeKeane:

    I am not as high on Morris as some. I think he will do things, but not great. Guys, I am high on Klay Thompson and what I meant is that I think he will be good, but it would take a lot to move up and get him. I think he will be better than Korver; just don't expect him to do a lot more his first year. Therefore, I don't see why the bulls would give up rotational players and picks to get him.

  • Lottery for sure.

  • I think some "so-called experts" out there see a little Brandon Roy in this kid.

    Not so sure.

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