CHICAGO -- While most players here speak of their goal to be a lottery pick, Deshaun Thomas has lower expectations.
“I believe I can be a late first-round pick,” said the 6-5 small forward who left Ohio State after his junior season. “ I have confidence. All I got to do is keep working.”
A knockdown shooter who can play in transition as well, Thomas’ rapidly improves physique has wowed at least several scouts here. He measured at 6-5, 220 pounds with a 6-10 wingspan and 9.1% body fat. He can take contact and still get off his shot. He's 6-7 in shoes.
“Worked on it a lot. Got my body fat down. It was at 11 or 12,” he said. “I worked on flexibility, getting stronger, being explosive out there.”
Thomas hasn't interviewed with the Wizards, who need a quick-hitting scorer like Thomas to help the NBA’s worst scoring team (93.2 points per game) but ideally in a bigger package to play in the low post. The Minnesota Timberwolves, Detroit Pistons, Philadelphia 76ers, Los Angeles Clippers, Sacramento Kings and San Antonio Spurs already have talked with him.
Thomas averaged 19.8 points, 5.9 rebounds, shot 44.5% from the field and 34.4% from three-point range in his final season with the Buckeyes. He was an 83.4% foul shooter and gets to the line almost five times per game.
The Spurs, who have won four NBA championships since 1999, are noted for finding diamonds in the rough.
“I can bring great energy, the toughness, the competitiveness, the will to win,” Thomas said. “Extra rebounds, extra assists, just the little things. I learned that from playing at Ohio State. It’s not all about the scoring. It’s about the effort plays.”
Thomas is aware he might drop beneath the first round. He’ll be OK with that, too. The Wizards have two picks there.
When Thomas interviewed with the Spurs, he refused to give them his cell phone number. So he just might.
“It’s all about getting in there and being with the right team pick you and going from there,” he said. “If it’s the second round, get in there work out, work your way up and try to be great.”