The Washington Wizards hold the 15th and 44th overall picks in the 2018 NBA Draft. Here is the latest in our series on draft prospects projected to be picked around where the Wizards will select...
2018 NBA Draft Wizards Prospect Preview: Khyri Thomas
Position: Shooting guard
Max vertical: 35
2017/18 stats: 15.1 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 2.8 apg, 1.7 spg, 0.2 bpg, 53.8 FG%, 41.1 3PT% (1.9 3PT/4.6 3PA), 78.8 FT%
Player comparison: Marcus Smart
Projections: NBC Sports Washington 16th, NBADraft.net 21st, Bleacher Report 28th, Sports Illustrated 30th
5 things to know:
*Thomas impacts the game on both ends of the floor, but defense may be his calling card at the NBA level. He was the Big East defensive player of the year twice. Thomas is a strong guard with a huge wingspan for his size. He used that length to forced lots of steals in college. He averaged 1.7 per game as a junior and twice in his college career had five in one game. He has a chance to be a very physical defender in the NBA, similar to Marcus Smart of the Boston Celtics.
*Thomas hit threes at an impressive rate in college. He shot 40.6 percent for his three-year career on 3.2 attempts per game. He proved as a junior that he can shoot at a high percentage (41.1%) and at high volume (4.6 3PA).
*Though Thomas had some standout measurables at the combine, his 35-inch vertical leap was lower than many players at his position. He will need to make up for that with his wingspan around the rim.
*His age is something worth considering. Thomas is 22 and was born in 1996, yet that's old for the NBA Draft. Teams will have to determine how much room he still has left to improve. As Malcolm Brogdon showed when he was entering the draft, sometimes teams can sleep on an older player and not realize what they are missing.
*There seem to be mixed opinions on his offensive potential. Some evaluators love his shooting mechanics, some point out he isn't a polished ball-handler and doesn't have a quick first step. Thomas appears to be a player that will be defense-first initially and then over time reveal his true ceiling as a player.
Fit with Wizards: The Wizards could certainly use a guy like Thomas. He fills a positional need at shooting guard and his three-point shooting would be attractive to add to their bench.
Thomas' defensive potential is very intruging. The Wizards have some solid wing defenders, but Thomas could add some strength to that front line. He could someday use his strength to really bother smaller guards.
Like with any guard the Wizards are evaluating at the No. 15 pick, they have to determine if it's worth drafting someone who won't have a path to start in the near future. That is even more so the case at shooting guard rather than point guard, because Bradley Beal is only 24 years old and just entering his prime.
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