Two years into Sam Hinkie's rebuilding effort, Hollis Thompson wasn't supposed to be the team's leader in games played at 148. Thompson wasn't supposed to lead all rookies in three-point percentage at 40.1% last season. He wasn't supposed to duplicate that success with increased volume and improved mechanics.
He wasn't really supposed to be anything.
Thompson entered the 2012 NBA Draft after three seasons at Georgetown, where he set the school record for career three-point percentage at 44.0%. Going undrafted, he spent time with the Tulsa 66ers in the D-League that season before catching on with the San Antonio Spurs during summer league in 2013. After not making the Spurs' roster, he finally found his way to Philly.
Look back at some of the names who suited up for the Sixers on Opening Night 2013: James Anderson, Daniel Orton, Hollis Thompson, Darius Morris, Brandon Davies and Kwame Brown. Thompson's even the only player from that game to play in this season's finale!
His development from a guy off the street to a player who dropped 19 points in back-to-back games to end his 2015 campaign has been non-linear though. He experienced success as a rookie, drilling 40.1% of his threes on 2.2 attempts per game, but his form and release needed a bit of work, causing Brett Brown and the Sixers' developmental staff to work with Thompson to rework elements of shot.
Derek Bodner broke down back in December the small adjustments Thompson made, as he said:
The changes are slight, borderline imperceptible. Slight changes in his footwork, preparation, and hand placement. Things such as the placement of his left foot so he can more quickly step into the shot with his right foot, having his hands ready to get the ball into and through the shooting pocket quicker, how much dip to have in a shooting motion, could all factor into the speed of his release.
They're slight changes, but even the slightest of changes can impact the timing and repeatability of a jump shot until the muscle memory, and comfort level, are fully formed. Even just taking the same mechanics, but trying to speed up the motion and limit the time in the shooting pocket, can throw a players timing and rhythm off.
But the team has made a quicker release a priority for Thompson this season.