Before this season, Xavier Thames wasn't on any NBA Draft radar. After the regular season, a lot of the west coast and some of the east coast started noticing his NBA-ready jump shot and his leadership on the court. And after his 26-point-per-game performance in the NCAA Tournament, he earned a spot at the 2014 NBA Draft Combine and truly became an NBA prospect.
There's almost an innumerable amount of mock draft sites or draft analysis sites out there. Some have Thames as a second-round pick, some have him going undrafted. So as the 2014 NBA Draft countdown reaches 19 days, here's a look at where reputable sites and analysts project Thames will go, what they think of him, and which teams Thames has worked out for recently.
NBA.com recently posted "Prospect Profile" videos of a lot of the draft prospects--including Mr. Thames. The video is mostly just Thames talking about himself, so there isn't much analysis here. But it's still fun to hear how excited the former Aztec is to put on an NBA jersey. And did you know that he plays the piano? You will after watching the video: http://www.nba.com/video/channels/draft/2014/06/04/prospect-profile-xavier-thames.nba// (Not a YouTube video, so I can only post the link--sorry.)
DraftExpress lists Thames as a shooting guard and his NBA position as shooting guard.
This is my preferred mock draft site because it's updated regularly throughout the pre-draft process. The highest I've seen the site project Thames is at pick No. 41 to the Denver Nuggets. But Thames has since fallen off this sites' draft board.
Player rating: 84/100
Best qualities: Jump shot, NBA ready
Site writer Richard Harris posted his analysis of Thames two days ago. Harris says that Thames' strength is his jump shot--from any spot on the floor. He says Thames' weakness is that he's between positions: too small to be a pure shooting guard but not skilled enough to run the point in the NBA. Harris goes on to say that Thames does have a shot to play shooting guard in the NBA, but he wonders if Thames could make the contested shots he made at SDSU against the players he'll meet in the NBA. Harris compares Thames to Smush Parker. You can read the full analysis here.
ESPN.com (Chad Ford)
Overall rank: 72
Player traits: Shooting, penetrating, speed
Projection: Second round/undrafted
Ford also writes that Thames' strengths are his jump shot, first step and his defense, while his "tweener" status and strength are his weaknesses.
Yes, I know it says football in the site name. But WalterFootball.com covers professional prospects of any kind, from baseball to basketball to even horse racing. It's a great site for mock drafts.
Mock draft projection: No. 58 to the San Antonio Spurs
NBA player comparison: Jannero Pargo
Where has Thames been recently?
New York Knicks (allegedly)
Thames flew to New York on June 3, and he was scheduled to workout for the Knicks sometime before the NBA Draft. The Knicks have also been reported to be working out other draft prospects at this time, including Johnny O'Bryant of LSU. Put one and one together, and it appears that Thames recently worked out for the Knicks. Once again, this is alleged--it isn't confirmed. New York doesn't have any picks, but the fact that they're working out players indicates they may be looking to trade on draft night.
2014-15 Knick point guards and shooting guards: G Shannon Brown, G Raymond Felton, G Tim Hardaway Jr., G/F Iman Shumpert, G Pablo Prigioni, G/F J.R. Smith
According to Orlando Sentinel NBA beat writer Josh Robbins, Thames recently worked out for the Orlando Magic. The Magic wasn't one of the original teams Thames was scheduled to work out for. Orlando has picks No. 4 and 12.
2014-15 Magic point guards and shooting guards: G Arron Afflalo, G Doron Lamb, G Jameer Nelson, G Victor Oladipo, G Ronnie Price
That's all for now. Stay tuned for more as we near the NBA Draft.