The Trail Blazers season might be over, but the the 2018 NBA Draft is right around the corner. Portland currently owns the No. 24 pick in the draft, and they will be looking to supplement their roster with a talented young prospect in the latter stages of the first round. Today we will be analyzing hard-nosed Creighton shooting guard Khyri Thomas.
- Height: 6’3”
- Weight: 210
- Wingspan: 6’10”
- Shoots: Right
- Position: SG
- Age: 21
- Projected draft range: 15-25
- PPG: 15.1 | Per 40: 19.0
- RPG: 4.4 | Per 40: 5.5
- APG: 2.8 | Per 40: 3.5
- STL: 1.7 | Per 40: 2.1
- FG%: 53.8
- 3P%: 41.1
Armed with a relentless motor, Thomas’ biggest strengths come on the defensive end of the court. Filling passing lanes, preventing penetration, and attacking close-outs are just three of the things that the 21-year-old guard excels at. Don’t let Thomas’ lack of height fool you, as his 6-foot-10 wingspan allows him to effectively guard a wide range of perimeter players. Offensively, Thomas has blossomed into a consistent spot-up shooter. The Omaha native has drastically improved his free throw shooting since his freshman year, which paints a pretty picture for his likelihood of becoming a competent shooter at the NBA level. While Thomas looks the part of a straight-line dribbler, he has shown the early signs of being capable of creating shots for his teammates after putting the ball on the court.
Thomas struggled to create his own offense at the college level, and that is a problem that will likely persist in the NBA. Without a reliable floater in his repertoire, Thomas often struggles when he is forced to take his offense to the interior. His struggles in the paint are compounded by his inability to draw fouls and play through contact. Along with a lack of scoring diversity, he owns one of the more uninspiring ceilings among prospects in his draft range. On draft night Thomas will be 22 years old, which could scare off suitors that are looking to swing for the fences.
The Big East Defensive Player of the Year award failed to change hands this past season, as Thomas captured the honor for the second time. Along with his tenacious defense, he also led the conference in field goal percentage. Buoyed by Thomas’ strong junior-year campaign, the Bluejays finished with a record of 21-12 before exiting in the NCAA Tournament’s opening round. A 26-point performance in a loss against Marquette in mid-February marks his best performance of the 2017-18 season.
For the most part, what you see is what you get with Thomas. He is a prototypical high-floor, low-ceiling prospect that easily projects as a player ready to contribute as a role player immediately. All signs point to him being able to stretch his shooting range to the NBA three-point line, and his wingspan should allow him to maintain his edge on the defensive end. His physical dimensions scream Donovan-Mitchell-like potential, but those expectations are a bit of a reach. Without the ability to create his own shot, Thomas’ best-case projection involves him evolving into a starting-caliber two-way guard.
It is clear that the Blazers need competent reinforcements on the perimeter. Thomas’ ability to immediately contend for minutes would be a welcome addition to a rotation that is already enjoying Damian Lillard’s prime. Portland’s defense was sturdy in 2017-18, and adding a player of Thomas’ pedigree on draft night would be solid boost. The biggest potential road block for the Blazers would involve the 21-year-old’s modest ceiling. Portland could chase a prospect with a higher upside if they feel pressure to strike gold with their lone selection.
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