LAS VEGAS -- We know you know because you've been talking about it, but the San Antonio Spurs are short a small forward. Technically, Danny Green can and has played the position. Manu Ginobili and Gary Neal have both filled in when the Spurs go extra small. Still, many fans would like to see another play who's natural position is small forward.
Enter Deshaun Thomas.
Thomas, the 58th pick in this June's draft is not a natural small forward. He spent much of his time at Ohio State playing power forward. However, at 6'7" he has the size to be your tradition back up wing and he also has a more perimeter oriented game. Thomas was a big part of the Summer League Spurs' 69-68 win over the Charlotte Bobcats, scoring 18 points on 7-13 shooting. His game showed the polish you don't normally see from a rookie. While he started the game at power forward, Summer League coach Ime Udoka said we can expect to see Thomas at both forward spots.
"He can take it outside, move it well, has great IQ, can get the tough shot," Udoka said. "We want to see him at times guarding the three, chasing guys around the perimeter, but we have no problem playing him at the small ball 4.”
Thomas said one of his first thoughts when the Spurs drafted him was that they were short a small forward and immediately began working on being able to play both forward spots on both sides of the ball.
"I know what you gotta do. You gotta come out and play hard and play with great energy to play the three," Thomas said. "I played under a great coach hat preached defense a lot and that’s Coach (Thad) Motta and you know I know the Spurs preach defense. Anytime in the huddle it’s ‘1-2-3 defense’ so I know it’s important.”
Udoka added that he thought Thomas had the ability to guard the wing position at the NBA level, he just needs more time to work on it. If he can figure out, that's one more weapon the Spurs can add to their arsenal.
All Thomas needs is a training camp or two. You guys have no confidence in Coach Pop I guess. He's turned people like Gary Neal into players the NBA can use. The guy is 6'7, can score at will, and as long as you can shoot in the NBA, you have value. Most of the other skills can be taught or at least increased. If Nando de Colo can make the roster, Thomas can.
He's too slow to cover the wing and he's undersized to play the 4. He is offensive mind, doesn't play any defense. I also wonder where they get to know him having great BB IQ???
This guy will be a solid NBA player, defense first mentality with an all around game....good fit almost a perfect fit but I'm not sure the spurs need a young project, they need talent or veteran help I would imagine. But maybe that's why they don't pay me the big bucks! I really do think he's gonna be a good player I hope I see that with the spurs.
As a backup 3, he can prob. guard opposing backup 3's. But I think his biggest strength would be playin' with KL as the small ball 4. To take a recent example: he would've been ideal guarding a guy like Miller (easy) while being able to go at him on offense.
Deshaun Thomas is not a "3-and-D" type of player. Too slow, can't jump, and not consistent enough from NBA 3-point land. But he wasn't a McDonald's All-American for nothing. This guy can flat-out score it, and can do that efficiently, and in a team concept. No, I don't think he can back-up Kawhi. But he has enough skill, and maybe enough desire to try on defense, I think he earns a roster spot. Deshaun isn't going to learn in the D-League or ACB ... He needs to learn in the NBA. My opinion.
@MOlsen A camp or too earn him a roster spot. If you can shoot, you can make a career for yourself..
Sounds like his head is right where it needs to be. It's a tough roster to crack, but he is making all the right moves on the court and saying all the right things off. Keep at it young fella.