There is plenty of pressure on second-year Milwaukee Bucks General Manager Jon Horst to make a selection at pick number 17 that will fit within newly hired head coach Mike Budenholzer’s system, that will hopefully push the Bucks to the next level in their eventual goal of hoisting the Larry O’Brien trophy.
There is some speculation that University of Creighton’s defensive star junior Khyri Thomas might be that guy, and has been linked to Milwaukee by multiple mock drafts. Let’s start breaking down the two-time Big East Conference Defensive Player of the Year Khyri Thomas.
College: University of Creighton (Junior)
Hometown: Omaha, NE
Stats & Accolades:
15.1 PPG / 4.4 RPG / 2.8 APG
2x Big East Defensive Player of the Year (2017,2018)
2nd-team All-Big East (2018)
-Mentally Tough/High Basketball I.Q.
Thomas at Creighton saw a consistent rise in minutes over his three-year stay in Omaha gradually moving from a defensive stop-gap to a consistent offensive threat from all three-levels on offensive. He uses a high basketball I.Q and fundamentals to win position battles that allow him to get past defenders. Crafty in the half-court often getting the best out of stagnant half-court possessions. His jump shot form is good as he uses a strong base to elevate over defenders closely guarding him. His real calling card is on the defensive end of the floor. A two-time Big East DPOY Thomas consistently took the challenge of taking the oppositions best scorer and focused on shutting him down. His 6’10 wingspan allows him to play the passing lanes actively and limits the opposition to contested jumpers. He took advantage of the college system to focus on working on his weaknesses and turn them into strengths. Shows confidence and plays with a toughness that is infectious. He is a NBA ready prospect and will most surely be able to provide quality minutes early in his career based on his elite defense and his ability to score when called upon.
– Low Ceiling
– Not a PG, but might be too small to handle all SG’s
– Not crazy athletic.
As a 22-year-old junior, Thomas doesn’t feature the upside that GM’s are looking for projecting towards the future. He won’t jump off the page for you athletically. He isn’t a true PG at this point in his development and struggles facilitating in NBA style Pick-n-Roll situations. Playing against NBA talent on a night-to-night basis might reveal troubles with getting past defenders and being consistent on the offensive side of the ball.
Role on Bucks
Thomas if selected by the Bucks at 17 will fit right into the prototypical 3&D player that is so critical to success in this era of NBA Basketball. Thomas would slide into a bench role that would allow him to get his feet wet in an NBA style system. Coach Budenholzer would be able to use Thomas as a quality shooter off the bench without having to worry about any defensive lapses. Thomas would hopefully move into a minute’s role that was similar to Malcolm Brogdon purely based on their ability to play at the NBA level today. Thomas projects to help the Bucks down the road also. Giannis Antetokounmpo needs shooters surrounding him that are willing to take and make the big shot at the drop of the hat and Thomas has done that in the college and projects to be able to make that stride at the next level. Thomas also will be able to slide into minutes being able to pest the oppositions better guards and will be able to hold his own immediately. I am not sure that Thomas will be the pick that puts the Bucks over the top, but for a team that desperately needs talent on the bench he will most certainly be able to fill that role.