Mar 30, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Wichita State Shockers forward Cleanthony Early (11) defends against Ohio State Buckeyes forward Deshaun Thomas (1) during the second half of the finals of the West regional of the 2013 NCAA tournament at the Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports
With the lottery results all set, and the Cleveland Cavaliers winning the first pick for the second time in three years, the NBA Draft preparations are now in full swing.
The Houston Rockets do not own a first round pick for this year, with their lone pick coming in the second round at pick number 34.
It will be an interesting pick as this year’s draft class is believed to be one of the weakest fields in several years, but the Daryl Morey and the rest of the front office have struck some luck in the second round in the past (Carl Landry, Chase Budinger, Chandler Parsons). Some mock drafts like this one from HoopsWorld have the Rockets picking Ohio State forward Deshaun Thomas.
In the first look at potential draft picks for the Rockets, Thomas’s length and offensive abilities make him a favorable choice. A 6’7, 225 pounds, Thomas led the tough Big Ten conference in scoring, at 19.8 points in his third and final year with the Buckeyes. Early scouting reports of Thomas indicate that his biggest strength is his ability to catch and shoot, as he shot over 44 percent from the field throughout his junior season.
Matt Kamalsky of DraftExpress assessed Thomas’ NBA potential as a good role player on offensive, but stresses concerns about him on the defensive end, and the dangerous label of potentially being a “tweener” as a small/power forward:.
“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. He alleviated some concerns about his work ethic by coming into the season in the best shape of his career and has played with good intensity on the perimeter for stretches, but his ability on this end of the floor will surely face close scrutiny from NBA decision-makers during the pre-draft process whenever he decides to leave Ohio State.
Another concern revolves around his lackluster rebounding production, particularly on the defensive end, where he ranks dead last at his position amongst top-100 power forwards. Thomas doesn’t contribute much on the offensive glass either, so it remains to be seen how much he can help a team on nights when his shot isn’t falling.”
The Rockets have had their fair shares of drafting “tweeners” under the Morey era, most recently Marcus Morris, who have not panned out. Drafting Thomas would add to the plethora of young forwards already on the roster so it would be hard to see him making any kind of contributions for Houston in the near future. It’s also alarming that Thomas shot just 37 percent from the college three-point line last season, and 40 percent from three throughout his college career. With the Rockets offensive plan to spread the floor and put players on the floor who can knock down three-pointers, Thomas would have to make tremendous strides in developing his shot from beyond the NBA three-point line, something the front office and coaching staff may not be patient on.
Thomas has also been in the news recently when reports came out of him refusing to give his phone number to the San Antonio Spurs.