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By Matt McCoy
Deshaun Thomas declared for the NBA draft nearly three months ago. Tonight he hopes an NBA team declares for him.
The 6'7 forward led the Big Ten in scoring and while a few early mock drafts listed him as a late first round possibility, most mock drafts now list Thomas as a mid to late second round pick at best.
"Most likely, in my opinion, you'll see Deshaun Thomas go as a second round draft pick or undrafted," 610 WTVN basketball analyst Tony White said. "It hurts me to say that. I like the kid and he was a great, great player at Ohio State but his game right now just doesn't translate to the NBA."
The issue for Thomas is mobility. At Ohio State he was a power forward but in the NBA he'll have to play on the perimeter. He'll need to use quickness and agility to score and will have to defend more athletic players.
At the NBA draft combine in Chicago last month, Thomas recorded the slowest time in the lane agility test.
"That was an absolute killer," Tony said of Thomas' combine performance. "When you come in and the question mark is, 'do you have the mobility to play the two or the three in the NBA?' and the answer is 'absolutely no,' that's a tough thing to overcome."
But Thomas has been popular, in terms of getting workouts, since that combine. My unofficial count is that 14 teams have had him in for an up close and personal look, including the Western Confernece Champion San Antonio Spurs, the kind of team Tony believes, might offer Thomas his best opportunity.
"Deshaun Thomas has a lot to learn at the NBA level and I think the best team for him is a veteran team that's not going to force him to play every day and allow him to sit on the bench and learn in practice and maybe learn in the back end of games for a couple years," Tony said. "If he goes to a team that expects him to perform right now, I just don't know if he's capable right now."
Wherever he ends up, I wish Deshaun luck. He was fun to cover at Ohio State and is one of those guys who almost always has a smile on his face. I hope he's smiling tonight.
To hear my interview with 610 WTVN basketball analyst Tony White click HERE: