It’s anyone’s guess as to who the Rockets will take with two first round picks in the twenties for the NBA Draft in less than three weeks’ time.
As a rebuilding team, the Rockets don’t have a specific need to fill nor do they have a set target. After the top tier of athletes are drafted in the Top 5, the draft opens up and the range players go through increases tenfold.
And with two picks, it doubles the chances any of these first-round picks could come to Houston.
1) Why should the Rockets, or any team for that matter, draft Cam Thomas later this month?
Junda: Houston, or any NBA team, should pick Cameron Thomas because he’s the best scorer in the draft class and could carry the scoring load for any second unit.
2) What are Thomas’s biggest strengths?
Junda: In his one and only season in Baton Rouge, Thomas showed he can score from anywhere and can create a shot that few, if any, other prospects can. He’s instant offense and has a plethora of moves at his disposal and can finish at the rim with the best of them. He’s also automatic at the free throw line, shooting 88 percent and set an LSU record with 42 consecutive makes last season. And he moves without the ball in a way that reminds me of Klay Thompson, he’s constantly cutting and trying to give the ball handler an easy look.
3) What are his biggest weaknesses?
Junda: While Thomas showed he’s a great scorer, he didn’t show much of anything else at LSU. I don’t think it’s fair to call him a ball stopper but he only averaged 1.4 assists last year. His defense wasn’t awful but it left a lot to be desired especially with his size, smarts, and lateral quickness. His shot selection at times is questionable, there were far too many empty possessions for LSU last year because Thomas jacked up an impossible three. He’ll take the kind of three where you wonder “was there not a better play to be had?”
4) What NBA player would you compare Thomas to?
Junda: I think if his career plays out perfectly he could be a shorter Klay Thompson. That’s a high bar since Thompson is one of the 10 best shooters ever and a fantastic defender, but Thomas has the tools on both ends to that good. But I think what is more likely is he’ll be a Lou Williams type of instant offense dynamo coming off the bench.
5) What are his projections at the NBA level? How do you think his career will fare?
Junda: Thomas’s pro career most likely mirrors Lou Williams where he plays forever, scores a ton of points, and maybe even wins a Sixth Man of the Year award. He’s the kind of guy that will raise a team’s ceiling just based on his scoring alone, and if he does improve defensively or as a playmaker I think he could be a top-40 player in the league in a few years.