WATCH: Jason Thompson vents frustrations with Sacramento Kings
For six years, Kings big man Jason Thompson has watched a revolving door of folks come through Sacramento. He’s played for five head coaches, nearly 70 different players and is now on his second ownership group. It’s been a roller coaster ride of epic proportions and after this last season, it is sounding more and more like the former Rider University star is ready to get off.
“Hands down man, that’s saying the least,” Thompson told Cowbell Kingdom when asked if this was his most frustrating year. “Just for the amount of shots, the type of rotations that we had – offensively and defensively. It just wasn’t even a fun year for me.”
It seems like every year the Kings try to replace Thompson with someone new. Be it J.J. Hickson, Thomas Robinson, Patrick Patterson or Carl Landry (twice), the 27-year-old forward has always regained his spot in the starting lineup some time during the regular season.
Despite Thompson outplaying Patterson during training camp this season, Malone and his staff went with Patterson for his long-range shooting abilities. The experiment was short-lived. Patterson couldn’t find his shooting stroke and was replaced in the starting line-up by Thompson just six games into the season.
“It’s got to be something, because it hasn’t worked,” Thompson said about the countless players who have tried to take his job. “Every other guy that’s come in here, they’ve gotten traded for a reason. They come and they go. I don’t think they want to go, but it just doesn’t work. There’s got to be a common denominator.”
Like Hickson and Robinson in the previous two seasons, Patterson was sent packing by Kings brass as part of a seven-man trade for Rudy Gay in December.
Despite starting 61 games, Thompson’s numbers were way down this season. He points to isolation basketball and an unwillingness by certain teammates as a big part of the reason for his decline.
After averaging 10.9 points and 6.7 rebounds per game the previous season, Thompson saw those numbers dip to 7.1 points and 6.4 rebounds in 2013-14. Thompson’s shots per game dropped from 9.1 last season to 6.0 this season, while his shooting percentage increased slightly from 50.2 to 50.6.
Thompson is tired of the selfish play. He is tired of playing for a team that ranks last in the NBA in assists per game. And he is tired of getting left out of the game plan.
Clearly, Thompson is frustrated with the way things have turned out in Sacramento. He is under contract for another two seasons and the team has an option for a third with a $2.65 million buyout.
Can he come back with a clean slate and start all over again in Sacramento? I’m not sure. Can Pete D’Alessandro find a taker for player with a minimum of $15-million owed over the next three seasons? Again, I’m not sure, but it doesn’t look like this situation is headed towards a happy ending.
You can see it on his face and hear it in his words – Thompson wants to either be a part of the plan or be sent somewhere else.
For six seasons, Jason Thompson has been a consummate professional in Sacramento. He has worked on his body, he has worked on his skill and each year he has come back a better player. But it hasn’t been enough and now, he is speaking up.
Another thanks to Taro Arai and the staff at Mikuni for their hospitality.
Video shot and edited by Tobin Halsey.