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Player Recaps: Sam Thompson

By Nick Robinson | May 18, 2022

This nine-part series takes an extensive look at Skyforce players throughout the 2021-22 season. We will highlight season and career highs, as well as the impact each player made on the court. Next, we take a look at forward Sam Thompson.

No Skyforce player impacted winning the way Sam Thompson did this season.

His ability to guard the best opposing player and defensive tenacity set a tone when he was acquired in January.

The team had offensive and defensive ratings of 102.0 and 107.0 in the Showcase Cup, but after Thompson’s arrival, the team finished with ratings of 106.0 and 10.9.9 in the regular season.

Despite the early and frequent impact defensively, Thompson caught his stride on the offensive side of the ball as he got his feet under him and became acquainted with the system and his teammates.

The Force held an impressive 9-2 record when he scored in double figures. Of those 11 games, he shot over 50% from the field in 10 of them. The lone game was still 40% from the field. That is a veteran player that knows his spots on the court.

Out of 20 players to wear a Skyforce jersey this season, Thompson was also one-of-three players to post three games of plus-20 plus-minuses.

Also, of the 17 victories (Showcase Cup and regular season combined), he played a crucial part in 14. Sioux Falls was 14-15 with Thompson on the floor, which was the best of any player this season.

Any way you look at it, the stats back it up.

Thompson moved the needle on-and-off the court for Head Coach Kasib Powell.

He played a crucial part in the first winning streak of the season, scoring 13 points on 5-9 FGA, while grabbing nine boards over Salt Lake City on January 10.

In the February five-game winning streak, the Chicago native scored in double figures in three of those games, while also posting eight-plus rebounds in two of them. He also had a combined plus-minus of plus-24 in the longest home winning streak since 2016.

In a must-win game at Memphis on February 26, Thompson chipped in 17 points on 5-9 FGA (2-4 3PA) and added five rebounds, as well.

On March 4, just over a week after his Memphis outing, the Ohio State product posted 19 points on 8-13 FGA and seven rebounds versus Texas in another victory.

With playoff hopes hanging in the balance, Thompson scored 20 points on 7-11 FGA, nine rebounds and three assists to help defeat the Birmingham Squadron on March 22.

Thompson finished his 2021-22 campaign with a G League career-high 27 points on 12-21 FGA, six rebounds, five assists and three steals. He scored 21-of-27 in the first half, as he shot 9-13 FGA.

It was a steady and consistent season for Thompson, something that is under-appreciated in the G League, with so many players learning the professional game for the first time.