Ryan Thompson, if you’ve never watched him play (and if you haven’t, then what’s wrong with you?) is quite frankly the exact type of guy that all NBA teams want. The New Jersey native is both versatile in what he can do on the court and not shy about proving it either. He’s more than just flashy finishes at the rim and bombs from downtown, though. Scouts have always raved about his raw abilities, his physical gifts, and on the court production. Ryan is more than the sum of those parts though, he’s an NBA player. And like I stated earlier, he’s exactly the type of guy that all NBA teams want. Lucky for us Jazz fans, he’s in our training camp.
The rookie-to-be was kind enough to take time out of his day to e-mail and tweet me back and forth. Here is a short, but sweet, exclusive interview:
Amar: Growing up, when did you first think that you had a good shot at the NBA?
Ryan Thompson: Growing up it was always a dream I had, and I felt I could reach that dream if I always worked hard.
Amar: What was your best experience playing ball at Rider?
Ryan: Having the chance to play with my brother, [also setting records] for wins in a single season at the school and record for consecutive wins.
Amar: Which veteran in training camp do you think you can learn the most from?
Ryan: Either D-Will or C.J. Miles because they are both younger vets that are vocal and help me out a lot.
Amar: What's the strongest part of your game?
Ryan: I can play multiple positions and guard multiple positions because of my height and length.
Amar: Does having a brother [Sacramento Kings forward Jason Thompson] in the L give you an edge that other rookies don't have? (e.g. know a little more of what to expect / know a little more of what the league expects from its players?)
Ryan: Yeah, I think so because he has been in the league for 2 years and we talk a lot. He answers any of the questions that I have about the NBA.
Thanks again to Ryan, and we wish him all the best for the rest of training camp. At the risk of editorializing here, I think he has a good shot to make the team. What I like about him his is defense and size. Yes, he can knock down threes, get to the line, and hits the boards harder than some power forwards; but Jerry Sloan cares for defense first, second and last. That’s how guys like Shandon Anderson and Wesley Matthews got playing time as rookies, while guys like Morris Almond and Quincy Lewis did not. Thompson isn't like any of those other guys, he's like the best mix of each. And Coach Sloan isn't going to complain about adding another guy to the team who has a 6’8.5 wingspan that deflects passes and can start up and/or finish fast breaks.
Lastly, if Ryan ever wants to do another one of these a few days from now, he knows how to reach me : )