Editor's note: This article is part of a continuing series in which Insider Bill Herenda highlights a different Kings player every day leading up to the 2014-15 season opener on Oct. 29
Contract status: Signed through 2016-17 (Selected by the Kings in the first round -- 12th overall -- of the 2008 NBA Draft out of Rider)
2013-14 in review: Jason Thompson started 61 games last year and -- for the third time in his six NBA seasons -- appeared in all 82. He averaged 7.1 points and 24.5 minute per game -- down from his career averages of 9.9 points and 26.9 minutes.
2014-15 outlook: Thompson has played for five head coaches and two ownership regimes. No one has seen more instability in Sacramento than the 6-foot-11 big man.
The Rider product is one of only five returning players from last year’s Sacramento training camp and made major changes to his preparation including “cleansing” and nutrition this off season.
Entering his seventh NBA season, Thompson’s desire to ensure longevity and focus on conditioning has paid dividends. Early in camp head coach Michael Malone declared Thompson and veteran Reggie Evans “co-MVPs of training camp.”
As Sacramento aspires to “run, but run with discipline” under Malone’s leadership, Thompson can be the beneficiary of early scoring opportunities simply by running the floor.
Additionally, in the half court setting, while DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay will attract tremendous attention and focus, Thompson will likely get unabated chances on the offensive glass due to his defender helping on teammates.
Conditioning wasn’t the only focus for the New Jersey native this offseason. While it may not be a number called all year, Thompson has also attempted to diversify his game this offseason working on a three-point shot.
Thompson will also be counted on to help the Kings improve defensively. Sacramento’s defensive liabilities have been well documented; they were 24th in the NBA allowing 103.4 points per game and 20th in the league allowing opponents to shoot 46.1 percent from the floor.
A rangy Thompson can also help Sacramento’s desperate need to protect the basket.
However, before capitalizing on these opportunities, Thompson must win the battle for minutes at the four-spot against Carl Landry, Reggie Evans and rookie Eric Moreland.
Simply put, two questions are central to Thompson thriving: Can his production rise if Sacramento increases its pace and efficiency? Can he produce more under the play-for-each-other mentality that Malone has been preaching?
Above all, Thompson is hoping to enjoy stability and consistency that has been painfully absent since his arrival.
C Sim Bhullar
G Deonte Burton
F Omri Casspi
G Darren Collison
C DeMarcus Cousins
F Reggie Evans
F Rudy Gay
C Ryan Hollins
G Trey Johnson
F Carl Landry
G Ray McCallum
G Ben McLemore
F Eric Moreland
G Ramon Sessions
G Nik Stauskas
F/C Jason Thompson
F David Wear
F Derrick Williams