- Measurables: 6-foot-7, 220 pounds, junior guard from the Ohio State University.
- Key Stats: 19.8 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.3 assists; shot 45 percent from the field and 34 percent from 3-point range.
- Projected: Second round.
- Hickory High similarity score
Deshaun Thomas was always kind of “the other guy” in his time at Ohio State, playing in the shadows of Jared Sullinger and Aaron Craft. That’s nothing against him, he’s just a guy who may like to keep to himself?
As Dan wrote over at Pro Basketball Talk last month Thomas was asked by the San Antonio Spurs for his cell phone number. One would assume any fringe prospect trying to do anything they can to impress a team would readily hand over their phone number, email address, AIM screen name, whatever.
Well, apparently that’s not Deshaun’s game because the Ohio State swingman declined to give the Spurs his number because “I can’t go around giving it out to everyone … now if they want to draft me, I’d be happy to give it to them.”
I think he was joking, but either way, is that really a smart move? You’re a prospect trying to get drafted into the NBA as high as possible (potentially in this case while talking to the best-run organization in the league) and you’re going to deny them like an ugly girl at a party?
Again, he could just be joking, but regardless, it’s not a great look. But hey, if basketball doesn’t work out he can maybe give baseball a try. Ok, just kidding, maybe he should stick to hoops.
Fits with the Pistons because …
As we’ve seen from this spring’s playoffs, teams that can score from the wings do well. Whether you’ve got a guy off the bench who can score — like, say, Thomas — or a star scorer in the starting lineup, having a consistent source of offense from the perimeter is a nessecity in today’s NBA.
That’s why Thomas makes sense for the Pistons. They have no consistent offensive threats from those wing positions. Throughout his tenure at Ohio State, Thomas found a way to modify his offensive game. The scorer that teamed with Jared Sullinger relied on a little mid-post offense and a lot of mid-range jumpers, which are something of a rarity in the league today.
The Thomas we saw this year scored a lot, mostly on jumpers, but he found a way to create his own offense. The Pistons have very few wing players, specifically at small forward, who can do that. He’s got athleticism, and he’s got some strength, but he’s kind of a tweener.
However, I feel like there are some tweener traits that actually help a guy when he gets to the NBA. If you can shoot, score and run the break, you’ll at least have a chance. I don’t think he’s as bad with the ball in terms of creating off the dribble as some say, either.
His game just feels like it fits the NBA style of play. Lots of jumpers, getting up and down the court, being able to rebound well for his position. I never liked Jared Sullinger as a prospect, and I said then that I thought Thomas was the best pro on that Final Four team.
Doesn’t fit with the Pistons because …
You want defense from that small forward spot, too, right? Well, that’s not going to be a strength of Thomas. He’s apathetic to say the least. He floats around and might struggle against the faster wing forwards in the NBA.
There’s also the character questions, mainly with his work ethic. In order for Thomas to be a successful player in this league, he’ll have to work on his game from the perimeter. Does he want to do that? Does he want to just shoot jump shots and play between the 3-point lines?
He’s kind of stuck in an awkward spot as a second-round prospect. Arizona State’s Carrick Felix and NC State’s CJ Leslie are both similar guys that will be around when the Pistons pick at No. 37. All are limited forwards who either can’t shoot (Leslie, Felix) or can’t defend wing players (Leslie, Thomas).
His closest Hickory High similarity comparison is Jon Leuer, if you’re into that thing.
You’re getting a very one-dimensional player in Thomas, but if that’s what you’re looking for, he may be a fit as a guy to have on your bench early on.
From the experts …
Thomas is an elite scorer who can do damage near the basket or on the perimeter. But he make scouts a little wary because of his lack of elite athletic ability, he’s a ‘tweener stuck between the 3 and the 4 and his indifference on the defensive end. He can put the ball in the bucket, but they’ll want to see more than that if he’s going to be a first-round prospect. He’s a bubble first-rounder right now, in the 25-40 range.
The main question regarding Thomas’s NBA potential is what position he can defend effectively. His versatile offensive game affords him some flexibility on that end of the floor, but his lack of footspeed for a three, size and length for a four, and overall consistency on the defensive end are troubling.
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