Following up with Jason Thompson.
After practice yesterday, I was able to grab a minute with Kings starting power forward, Jason Thompson. Although this wasn’t the standard sit down interview, I thought it was necessary to check back in with JT after his post practice comments following Tuesday’s loss to the Pacers. Like previous interviews, the questions, and the answers that follow, although taken from a group setting, are strictly based from our conversation with JT. Here is Jason Thompson with the The Purple Panjandrum.
TPP: Are you looking forward to playing the Lakers?
JT: It’s always a test. The rivalry might not be as good as it was back in the day, but we always have good battles with them. Usually all the games are close. The last time we were in LA, besides the last game of the season, Kobe hit the buzzer shot, so yeah, we usually have a battle with them.
TPP: Last season you had some of your best games against the Lakers. Do you get up to play them or do you think it’s a match-up thing?
JT: You never try to play to the competition. They have a lot of guys that are not just well known guys, but they have rings and they have done other things before they even became Lakers. You always have to bring your “A” game, every time but especially in LA with the big city and bright lights. What better way to play big than against the defending champs.
TPP: You were pretty fired up in the locker room after the Pacers game. It was definitely a different Jason Thompson than I am used to seeing. Do you think that you have moved past that?
JT: Maybe it was kind of the Derek Anderson effect a little bit. Me not smiling after something like, being frustrated, I’m a competitor and I want to win as many games as I can. At the end of the day, I know one of the good things in this league is that you have another game, maybe as a back to back or another game every other day to make up for it. Especially in the second half, I didn’t think I could do much or did much for the team to help out and I was pretty frustrated by that too.
TPP: How do you feel like you are settling into the starting role?
JT: I feel good. I feel comfortable, but you never know how this business goes. I just give what I can give and see what happens from there.
TPP: How do you think you and Dalembert are fitting in together?
JT: I think it’s good. We show a lot of energy and we move the ball well. He kind of knows where I like the ball, if the paint is clogged and I’m spotting up or if I seal my man and can duck in, then he can get me the ball to. I think it’s going pretty well.
TPP: The way that Odom is hitting the three ball this year, do you need to make a concerted effort to stay with him on the perimeter?
JT: Well yes, if they are driving, I can’t really help out as much, especially if he is going to be at the top, so I have to be on his left and make sure that I get somewhat of a hand in his face.
TPP: With Dalembert hurting, how important is it for you to stay out of foul trouble?
JT: I think it’s important, but if you think about something too much, then likely it happens so I won’t think about it too much, I’ll just think about stopping my man and playing more team defense and rebounding. Hopefully we can limit them to one shot.
Jason Thompson is by far the most positive player on the Kings. This season has been a complete roller coaster for the young big man out of Rider and the instability seems to be wearing on him. What he needs is another game like the one he had against the Bulls to solidify his place in the rotation. With stability, I expect Thompson to return to the type of player he was last season when he led the team with 24 double-doubles.
Last season, Thompson averaged 16.5 points and 13 rebounds a game over the Kings last two meetings against the Lakers. This will be his fourth start of the season, third at the power forward position. With rumors flying around that Pau Gasol may not suit up for the Lakers tonight against the Kings due to a bum hamstring, Thompson needs to slow down and let the game come to him and he might just break the seal on the double-double drought.