Deshaun Thomas: Phoenix Suns 2013 NBA Draft profile


Above all, Ohio State Buckeyes forward Deshaun Thomas is a scorer by breed and by trade. He put up 15.6 shots per game as a junior in 2012-13 and 5.6 of those were from three-point range. While the efficiency might not be there, Thomas’ 19.8 points per game led college basketball’s best conference in scoring. And though his percentages decreased in the limelight as Thomas took the lead following Jared Sullinger’s departure from OSU, he proved a plenty capable first option for coach Thad Matta. Thomas loves to score – love being the key word – and that is his niche role at the next level. If nothing else, Thomas is as confident a scorer as any in this draft.

But it’s his play earlier in his career that could shed light on how he projects as an NBA prospect. He’s an underrated off-the-ball scorer and has the ability to finish in the paint off cuts. He is a great catch-and-shoot jump shooter who could fit well into three-point-happy offenses and showed in his first two years with the Buckeyes that he can play off the ball — he is at his best not being the first option.

Despite being only 6-foot-7 in shoes, Thomas has a 6-foot-10 wingspan which somewhat makes up for his lack of size.

Question marks

Thomas is the definition of a tweener, and the defensive end is the biggest cause for concern in that regard. His 5.9 rebounds per game could be affected by how much Thomas floats around the perimeter, but according to Draft Express, Thomas was last in the top-100 power forwards in defensive rebounding, meaning his own offense had little to do with the poor numbers.

His career could also hinge heavily upon his ability to play defense with the lack of explosiveness for a small forward and a frame that’s too small for a power forward. Effort might make the biggest difference here – Thomas’ leadership improved from sophomore to junior seasons, but there’s still room to grow.

Thomas’ size hurts his abilities on both ends. On offense, it’s a question as to whether he can put the ball on the floor to get to the hoop, as Thomas is limited in how he can get open shots. A lack of explosiveness will hamper how much Thomas can score in the paint with the ball in his hands as well.

If he’s more than a jump shooter in the NBA, the former Buckeye will have to prove it.


To find success, Thomas must prove he’s an elite-level scorer who could go off in restricted minutes. He’s not quite tall enough to be tossed in the discussion of long power forwards who can shoot over anyone, nor is he athletic enough to continually get to the basket and finish, so the development of a pump fake, one dribble and shoot move will be key to his professional success.

In short, he’ll have to show that shot selection is either a strong part of his basketball IQ – or that he’s so good of a shooter that a team will be able to give him a green light at all times.

How he would fit with the Suns

At this point, Thomas would have to make a big leap up the draft boards to the No. 30 spot for the Suns or fall to them at 57. However, he comes from a winning background with the Buckeyes. Thomas doesn’t project as a starter but in time could turn into instant offense off the bench, good for 10-12 points in limited minutes. For a Suns squad that has too many hybrid forwards, maybe it doesn’t make sense unless Phoenix moves either of the Morris twins, Michael Beasley or Luis Scola. Then again, the team’s affinity for stretch 4s certainly makes Thomas’ skillset worth a great deal, especially if the Suns believe he can become a consistent shooter in the NBA.

And 1 … A second-rounder to consider

Peyton Siva. Yes, he’s undersized and he might not be an NBA point guard. But the success of little guys like Ty Lawson, Nate Robinson, Isaiah Thomas and J.J. Barea has shown over the last couple of years that a team can always use a hyper backup point guard to change the dynamic of a second unit. Siva has the leadership qualities and background at Louisville and is an underrated athlete to boot – even if he got “fouled” by Trey Burke in the national title game. Like a small running back in the NFL, the change-of-pace point guard has a place in the NBA if Siva can develop in a couple of years as the Suns figure out their current point guard situation.

Tags: 2013 NBA Draft

  • GoSuns

    Siva is scrappy I like the kid

  • foreveris2long

    I like Siva as well. He is better than Marshall right now.

  • azbballfan

    I would still love the Suns to get Nemaj Nedovic

    super athletic combo guard no one is really talking about at the back end of the 2nd round

    he has alot of potential, i think

    Suns should bring him in for a workout, would be nice to have a sparkplug off the bench that can score

  • hawki

    Coro has Suns taking Bennett at 5 & Pierre Jackson (pg Baylor) at 30.

    Personally, I still like Livio Jean-Charles as the pick at 30.
    At 6’9″ & only 19 yrs old, he still has room to grow.
    He is a defensive demon, who convinced me with his performance at the Nike Hoop Summit that he is worth taking at 30 considering his considerable upside.

    Bennett is probably the biggest mystery in the draft….lots of potential but would benefit from being on a team with strong veteran leadership since his work ethic, defense & intangibles are in question.

  • bill.thomas

    I saw Thomas from the 4th Row at the Wichita State game and he looked more like 6’8″ than 6’7″ to me…and well built. I think from observing that game and others the tight-in college 3-pt. line is restricting the maneuverability of some of these players like Thomas and playing in the pros may free them up more offensively.

    He has a very professional demeanor.

    He did not get a lot of rebounds there bc there was a lot of gang rebounding by both teams.

    As for Siva I would much rather wait a year and get his teammate Smith. I think Pitino talked Smith into not coming out so that Siva would have any chance at all to get drafted.

    Smith is much better. Siva is Telfair 2.0.

  • bill.thomas

    Smith may be Lillard 2.0

  • Scott

    I’m depressed to see the Suns are giving tryouts to guys who project to go at #57.

    C’mon, McD. You’re going to find a prize in well-scouted domestic players late in the draft? Chances are, anyone available at #57 will also be available after the draft is done (i.e., undrafted).

    A late draft pick should be used to secure the rights to a less scouted foreign player with potential (e.g., Manu Ginobili, Marcin Gortat, Luis Scola).

  • hawki

    I would not be disappointed if Suns got Deshaun Thomas at 30….guy can definitely shoot & he is slightly undervalued because he played 3 yrs college ball.

    Russ Smith might be the best pg in the country not named Marcus Smart…..Smith will be a bargain in next year’s draft.

  • foreveris2long

    Smith took a hit regarding his attitude in the championship game against Michigan. Initially it was reported he was coming out and he wisely decided against being available this summer in the draft. I don’t know what other point guards are coming out next summer so I don’t know if this will help his value or not. I doubt he was going to be drafted ahead of Burke because I do not think he shoots it as well.

  • Azbballfan

    There is still time to bring in top prospects to work out, and remember, 3 of the top 10 cant workout cause they are injured

    Yeah i am a Levito Jean-Charles fan as well at 30

    I mean Jamaal Franklin would be my 1st choice but if he is not able to be traded for, for some reason, Charles is pretty dang good

    Apparently Cleveland wants Kevin Love or Demarcus Cousins for the #1 overall pick

    Nice try Cleveland, only a rebuilding team is going to give away talent like that for a number overall pick in a weak, weak draft that has little star power but alot of depth

    Love is untouchable and Cousins is likely going nowhere unless the Kings decide to rebuild again and are tired of his issues

    I think the Suns are covering all their bases with these workouts

    Now lets hope this time when they see the next iman shumprt and have a chance to draft him they wont take the next Markieff Morris

    by the way i am all in favor of packaging the twins together to Charlotte for a future 1st round pick

  • foreveris2long

    Bill, According to Pitino, He contacted some NBA GMs after the championship game to determine where Smith would be drafted. The consensus was second round due to questionable jump shot and only weighing 165 pounds. His dad wanted him to go but Pitino suggested he stay since he was not projected to go in the 1st round. The championship game did not help his cause when he missed 13 of 16 field goal attempts.

    Hawk I have to follow your lead on Jean Charles at 30 as I have never seen him play.

  • Scott

    DX now has a draft video for Dennis Schroeder.

    To me, it looks like his weaknesses stem primarily from lack of strength and youth, where his lack of strength can be partly attributed to youth. (He’s 19.)

    Schroeder looks like he plays better than Marshall. But he, too, lacks a mid-range and 3 point shot. It looks to me like he’s got basic accuracy, but he’s got something going on in his mechanics where he twists and throws a leg forward, which is probably not optimal. My impression is that if he gets his legs under himself and shoots with a high release, he should be fine. So, maybe not surprisingly, another young player in the draft could benefit from a shooting coach.

    Another strength-related problem he has is hanging onto the ball. He can also lose focus at times while dribbling or holding the ball. This will be important to correct, as in the NBA if it’s known he’s loose with the ball, his life will be hell.

    Other than those two things, he looks like he’d be a great pick. If the Suns get him, it might allow them to move Marshall.

    Of course, as I’ve mentioned in other posts, I recommend virtually an entire rebuild for the team, including the disposal of the Morris twins and Marshall, as soon as they can be adequately replaced.

    I still advocate at this point that the Suns draft Raul Neto with their #57, even if they are able to get Schroeder in a draft day trade. Neto would be a good asset to leave overseas so that the Suns don’t find themselves as lacking for talent at the PG spot as they were under Blanks.

  • Noitall

    Siva has no NBA skills whatsoever. It is nice to admire him as a college player, but nothing he does translates to the NBA at his position. Plus, we have already invested money into Marshall, so drafting another PG means we would be dumping Marshall, so that guy better actually be able to make a roster and play.

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