Five games under .500 and fourth in the Pacific Division, you would expect the Sacramento Kings to be a little crestfallen.
With sole breadwinner Kevin Martin (22.4 PPG this season) and Brad Miller (7.9 rebounds and 4.9 assists, both team highs) missing a combination of eight-out-of-15 games this season (Martin has missed the last seven games), the inability to stay healthy has been the uninvited culprit.
The journey for an argentous lining shouldn’t be too strenuous unless you somehow miss 6'10" rookie Jason Thompson. The giant with an even gargantuan more grin has been solid in his first season as an NBA Pro.
The 10th pick out of Rider, Thompson is tied for first in double-doubles, second in field goal percentage and in total rebounds, (all among rookies). Not to mention he’s first in all of those categories among the top 10 draft picks of the 2008 NBA Draft, which featured Derrick Rose, O.J. Mayo, Michael Beasley, Eric Gordon, and Kevin Love, among others.
Thompson is also averaging 17.1 PPG and 16.1 rebounds per 40 minutes, despite coming off the bench for the dismal Kings.
The long-stridden rookie excels in transition and is a terror on the glass, snatching and seizing teammates’ miscues to the tune of 41 offensive rebounds—more than Tim Duncan, Yao Ming, Pau Gasol, Chris Bosh, Elton Brand, and Rasheed Wallace.
Thompson is averaging 12.1 PPG, 7.1 RPG, and 1.1 APG in only 27.6 minutes of playing time. The former Broncos’ brute is shooting 55.1 percent from the field—superior to Kevin Garnett, Ming, Andrew Bynum, Gasol, Bosh, David West, and Duncan.
Thompson’s mark also puts him in a stranglehold with last year’s leader in field goal percentage, Andris Biedrins.
His 19-point, 12-rebound effort against the Blazers was his second of the year, after deboning the Clippers five games earlier (16 points, 11 rebounds, on 6-of-10 shooting) for his first career double double.
Thompson’s cogent numbers have him an underdog and an elongated dark horse for Rookie of the Year.