Trivia time: Who was the last Canadian-born player drafted in the first round?
No, not the shaggy-haired guy. If you answered Jamaal Magloire you are either Canadian or we should be worried about you. Or both. But you’d be right.
For another few weeks anyway.
Tristan Thompson, the freshman power forward out of Texas — born in Ontario! — has declared for the NBA Draft according to the Austin Statesman. He likely will go late lottery or somewhere in the mid-teens (DraftExpress has him as the No. 16 prospect).
(By the way, next time you wonder why we are skeptical when a guy says around or during the NCAA tournament that he is coming back to college we are skeptical, remember how Thompson swore in March he was returning. Or there was Kevin Durant. Or a hundred other guys.)
He’s 6’8” but with a 7’2” wingspan, which means draft experts can throw in the word “long,” which is always a favorite (up there with “motor” and “upside”). Oh, and Thompson does have a really good motor.
That length and motor makes him a good rebounder, plus he’s a good shot blocker.
Offensively, he needs work. Well, he needs a perimeter game. He could get away with being a 6’8” guy working inside in college but in the NBA he’s going to find a lot of longer arms and stronger bodies in his way. He has to develop a 15-foot jumper, and it is not there yet.
In the teens in this draft, if you get a guy who can board, that’s not bad.