The Dagger: College Basketball Blog

It doesn’t sound like Portland will be drafting Isaiah Thomas

Jeff Eisenberg
The Dagger

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Isaiah Thomas

As someone who grew up in a basketball-oriented family and aspires to become an NBA general manager someday, ex-Arizona State guard Jamelle McMillan is a bit more savvy making draft projections than the average recent grad.

That's why the Arizona Republic's Doug Haller reached out to the son of Portland Trailblazers coach Nate McMillan this week to get his take on how some of the Pac-10 prospects he played against project in the NBA.

McMillan offers several astute observations, lauding Derrick Williams' ability to be a matchup problem at both forward positions, Nicola Vucevic's array of post moves and Klay Thompson's oft-overlooked knack for creating his own shot. One player who McMillan doesn't appear to be as high on, however, is former Washington guard Isaiah Thomas.

"People are comparing him to Nate Robinson, but they're not even close to the same player," McMillan said. "Isaiah shoots it OK, not great. Defensively, I'm not sure he can guard anybody in this league. He really struggles on the defensive end, mainly because he's never really had to play defense. At Washington, he gambled. In high school, it was all offense. I just don't know if he's going to be able to do some of the of things that he did in college."

The curious thing about McMillan's evaluation of Thomas is the 5-foot-9 guard went 5-1 against Arizona State in his career and had one of his best games of the season against the Sun Devils last January. Thomas lit up Arizona State for 19 points, 6 rebounds, 8 assists and 3 steals and helped limit the defensive-minded McMillan to two points on 1-for-6 shooting.

Thomas is projected as a second-round pick in tonight's NBA draft. He'll have to hope current NBA general managers are more optimistic about his professional future than a potential future one is.

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