If there's one thing I kept hearing over and over from people who attended the Las Vegas Summer League, it's that Deshaun Thomas can score. People kept on telling me about how it didn't matter where he was on the court -- around the basket, from deep, in the mid-range -- he could fill it up. And others who weren't in Vegas, but were watching the games online, were falling in love with his offense because whether he was moving off ball or with it, whether he was spotting up or coming off a screen, whether he was making moves in the post or just catching and letting it fly, his shot looked the same: beautiful every time.
I see a lot (and I do mean a lot) of video throughout the year, and I post a very small amount of it. But when I saw the following clip on Project Spurs, I knew I'd have to post it. Sure, his defense is suspect at the moment, but just take a look at this video and tell me you don't think his offensive game is ready for prime time.
There are just so many things that stand out to me from watching the five minutes of Thomas moving, dunking, posting, shooting, and shooting, and shooting some more. But you can watch it first, and then I'll tell you what I noticed.
First, we need to get the obvious out of the way: this is a heavily edited video that was created for one reason: to show Deshaun off to his best advantage. There is not a single missed shot, and only one near-miss, to be seen. The footage is culled from a workout where he was being fed the ball at various places on the court, and from what appears to be a three-on-three scrimmage. That said, there is a ton to like about what he shows.
I have to begin with his shot. His beautiful, gorgeous, pulchritudinous shot that looks like a left-handed version of Glen Rice's. It's smooth, compact and often ends with an exaggerated follow through. Thomas moves fluidly, is always well balanced, and does an excellent job of staying squared up to the basket; all of which helps him keep his shot the same every time. This is one of the things that most stands out to me from watching this video: unlike Marco Belinelli, one Thomas jumper looks very much like another. It's just a joy to watch him shoot.
When around the basket, his post moves are quick, sharp, decisive and determined. His dunks aren't too much to behold, but they're serviceable. I'll even give him the benefit of the doubt by saying it's possible he dunks differently in game situations, when elevating over a defender is necessary to score. Yes, I realize I'm being generous with that.
In an edited video like this one, with all of the misses eliminated, I look at how many shots are made in a row and whether those makes are from the same place or from multiple locations; Thomas shows well in both categories. He shoots from all over the court and after he's dribbled or received passes. His three-point shots from the top of the key are as effortless as any I've seen, and his corner threes (which we're likely to see tons of if ever he suits up for San Antonio) are just fine, thank you.
My favorite part of the video is from 1:26 to 1:40; a series of 4 straight made three-pointers starting at the top of the key, and continuing as he moves around the arc from right to left. Each shot is preceded by him receiving a pass, making a jab-step to the left, re-setting his feet and taking a jumper. Four shots in a row like that says much more to me than just standing still, spotting up, catching and shooting.
Of course, all of this comes with the serious caveat of Thomas' lack of defensive acumen. But, hey, who wants to watch videos of guys playing defense right now? It's the summer, the NBA schedule hasn't been released yet, and the next regular season game is some three months away. So, cue up the video or put it on a loop, sit back and relax as the Spurs 2nd round draft pick bombs away with the smoothest jumper out of Ohio State since I can't remember when.
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UPDATE: For those who just can't get enough Deshaun Thomas info, here's a really cool link that fellow £er indiancharlie, dropped into the comments. Thanks, icy.