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Pistons’ Monty Williams explains drop in playing time for Ausar Thompson

Ausar Thompson emerged as a highly productive player with the Detroit Pistons to start the season, but the fifth pick has seen a drop in playing time of late.

Thompson has played in every game this season and had a strong start to the year. He averaged 11 points, 9.2 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.5 blocks and 1.1 steals on 46.5% shooting from the field in 19 games in October and November. He played 28.9 minutes per game.

However, Thompson is down to 19.2 minutes on average since Dec. 1. He has finished in double figures just twice during that span, averaging 5.8 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.5 assists on 42.9% shooting from the field in 17 appearances.

Pistons coach Monty Williams has been very complimentary of Thompson, though he also hasn’t shied away from benching him for various reasons. Williams explained the lack of playing time, via James L. Edwards III of The Athletic.

Thompson, at one point this season, was ranked in the top 10 among all players in the league in rebounds, offensive rebounds and blocks. He also became the first player since 1978 to tally at least 115 rebounds, 35 assists, 20 blocks and 10 steals over the first 12 games of his career.

The recent downtick in playing time has prevented Thompson from remaining among the league leaders in those stat categories, but the 20-year-old still leads all rookies in offensive rebounds (81) and is third in total rebounds (247) and fourth in blocks (37).

He has certainly experienced the usual ups and downs of a rookie season but has established himself as a franchise cornerstone for years to come with his athleticism, length and ability on the court.

Story originally appeared on Rookie Wire