The New York Knicks are looking to upgrade their entire roster as much as they can. With that in mind, the Knicks have seemed to zero in on a forward they like very much. Ohio State forward Deshaun Thomas has been brought in for two workouts thus far by the Knicks. Is that an indication that New York intends on buying a second round selection to secure Thomas' services in the 2013 NBA Draft?
With the prices the New York Knicks are charging customers and the salaries they are paying Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler they'd be foolish not to look for younger and more athletic players to eventually take their high priced players places. With that in mind, the Knicks will look at players from each and every position in the 2013 NBA Draft.
Deshaun Thomas is a small forward who played at Ohio State. The 6'7", 220 pound Fort Wayne, Indiana native is versatile and has also played power forward. The Knicks love versatility and are excited over players who can play multiple positions because the franchise likes to use both small ball and traditional looks to confuse opponents and gain favorable matchups.
As a result, the Knicks had Thomas in for a workout on Wednesday. Apparently they were impressed enough to want a second look and Thomas was asked to return to the facility on Friday.
Sam Amico or Fox Sports Ohio reports Thomas was brought in for a second workout today.
Thomas is what is referred to as a combo forward, meaning he has a lot of guard-type skills in a forwards body and yet can play both forward positions. He's an aggressive scorer who can be a threat to take and make shots from anywhere on the floor. He has an outstanding touch on his jump shot and he has tremendous offensive instincts.
When Jared Sullinger moved on to the pro level, the Buckeyes relied heavily on Thomas's prolific scoring ability. It was an opportunity he relished and Thomas became the leading scorer in what's considered the toughest conference in college basketball.
Thomas is both aggressive and possesses good physical strength but he lacks the elite athleticism. If he had that he'd be projected to be a surefire small forward at the next level. He's that skilled.
Thomas can do damage with his jump shot, finish at the rim and be a one-on-one threat in the post. He's learned to work off screens, he's proficient in isolation, deadly from the perimeter and can open up things for others.
He does a good job of squaring his body to the rim and has a smooth release and follow-through at the top of his elevation. He is highly effective in catch and shoot situations from midrange and beyond the arc. However, he tends to fall in love with his jump shot too quickly and force the issue from the outside. Thomas can create his own shot, is active cutting to the basket and has shown promise as a back-to-the-basket threat.
The biggest question-mark about Thomas' game is his defensive ability. He lacks the size to consistently deal with power forwards and lacks the lateral quickness to cover quicker wings on the perimeter. Another concern is his rebounding production, particularly on the defensive end, but also on the offensive glass.
Alex Raskin of NJ.com reports Thomas knows he has to concentrate on the defensive end.
There's also been some talk about Thomas' need to improve as a defender, but he says that's definitely a focus of his.
"I played in the Big 10 and you have to play defense," Thomas said. "I know that's very important. That's one side you really need to key on and focus on."
However, there's no questioning his talent on the offensive end which is something all NBA teams value. He still has some things to work on but the fact remains that he's one of the best scorers in college basketball. This past season he's shown maturity and leadership. The fact that he's been a number one scoring option as well as a secondary option and someone coming off the bench should help with his transition to the NBA as well.
The Knicks don't currently have a second round pick in June 27th's draft. However, Thomas is one of the prospects that could cause general manager Glen Grunwald to purchase one. His defensive skills won't be favorable for Mike Woodson but his offensive skills can help the team and that's the bottom line.
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