How Will TaShawn Thomas Do in the NBA Draft?


Forty-Six players representing the University of Oklahoma have been selected in the 68 years the annual draft of the National Basketball Association has been held. Former Sooner TaShawn Thomas is hoping to become the 47th.

Thomas, listed as a 6-8 power forward on most NBA draft boards, played his final season as an Oklahoma Sooner after playing his first three collegiate seasons for the University of Houston.

Thomas will be among the many anxious NBA draft prospects hoping to hear his name called as one of the 60 draft picks over the two rounds that will constitute the 2015 NBA Draft on Thursday.

Mar 27, 2015; Syracuse, NY, USA; Michigan State Spartans guard/forward Branden Dawson (22) blocks the shot of Oklahoma Sooners forward TaShawn Thomas (35) during the second half in the semifinals of the east regional of the 2015 NCAA Tournament at Carrier Dome. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports ranks Thomas 31st among NCAA seniors in the draft and 80th among all NBA draft prospects.

Several mock draft boards have the former Sooner forward slotted as a potential late second-round selection. Some draft experts are comparing Thomas to another former OU player, Romero Osby, who was a second-round selection by the Orlando Magic in the 2013 NBA Draft. Osby has yet to play in the NBA, however. He has spent the last two seasons playing in the NBA Development and summer leagues, in addition to Europe and Puerto Rico.

The scouting report on Thomas is that he has NBA translatable skills as a face-up 4 man (power forward) and a player who could develop into a very good mid-range shooter. Among his strengths are his scoring ability inside the arc, both with his back to the basket and facing up from about 15 feet.

“He has a 7-2 wingspan, good strength and a wide frame that allows him to finish with both hands around the rim,” according to reports that Thomas shot 70.1 percent at the rim last season at Oklahoma and took over 50 percent of his shots close to the hoop.

What will hurt Thomas as an NBA prospect is his lack of size for the small forward position, plus he lacks good ball-handling skills, three-point range and the athletic ability to play at small forward at the next level.

The former Sooner averaged 11.6 points and 6.5 rebounds per game his senior year at OU. For his college career, his numbers were slightly higher at 13.7 points and 8.1 rebounds.

Thomas has drawn interest among several NBA teams in the last month or so leading up to Thursday’s NBA Draft. He worked out with the Milwaukee Bucks earlier this week, and earlier in the month he reportedly spent time with the Los Angeles Lakers, the Utah Jazz and the Phoenix Suns.

ESPN college basketball analyst Fran Fraschilla says if Thomas does get drafted, it won’t come any earlier than the second round. “I don’t think it’s a given that he’s going to be drafted in the second round, but he’s definitely going to get a chance to prove himself.

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“If he’s drafted, it will be terrific,” Fraschilla told Tulsa World sports writer Guerin Emig this week. “If he’s not drafted, he’s going to be scratching and clawing in Las Vegas or Orlando or Utah in one of the summer leagues.

“High character. Productive career. Somewhat of a tweener for the size he needs to be for either a three (small forward) or a four (power forward) in the league. That’s where he is right now,” Fraschilla added.

Thomas is chasing the NBA dream like hundreds of other talented and aspiring NBA hopefuls. Regardless of what happens on Thursday, the one-and-done former Sooner is almost certain to get an opportunity to catch on with an NBA team as a free agent. We will follow his progress through that path over the next several months.