Utah Jazz NBA Draft Prospect: JT Thor

Jul 14, 2021, 3:39 PM
Auburn forward and NBA draft prospect JT Thor (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)...
Auburn forward and NBA draft prospect JT Thor (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)
(Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The NBA Draft is fast approaching, and the Utah Jazz have a bevy of options available to them with the 30th pick in the first round. One of those prospects is Auburn’s JT Thor who had an impactful freshman season.

Thor had modest statistics at Auburn, averaging 9.4 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 0.9 assists while shooting 44 percent from the floor and 29 percent from three.

However, much of what Thor does to impact the floor won’t show up on the stat sheet, often displaying basketball intangibles that are rare for a true freshman.

JT Thor: Forward – Auburn

9.4 Points, 5.0 Rebounds, 0.9 Assists, 44.0/29.7/74.1

Strengths: The first thing that jumps off the page about Thor is his impressive frame standing 6’9, with a 7’3 wingspan, and 9’2 standing reach. He has elite height and length for the modern NBA wing who will be asked to defend multiple positions on the floor.

Defensively, Thor projects to be able to defend as many as four positions on the floor, and could even guard some small ball fives as his body and strength develop.

In addition to his physical profile, his effort, motor, and athleticism all pass the test as a potentially elite defensive player in the NBA. Thor can defend on the ball with his length and ability to move his feet, he frequently forces pokes the ball away on casual passes with his long wingspan, and serves as a terrific shot-blocker on the ball, as a weakside defender, and in transition.

He wins a lot of 50-50 balls and is an active rebounded despite averaging just five rebounds per game.

Offensively Thor brings an intriguing package of skills, even if his statistics weren’t particularly eye-popping. Despite shooting below 30 percent from the three-point line he has a terrific form on his jump shot that will likely improve significantly during his career.

Additionally, he’s a terrific lob threat and is comfortable in transition, and even showed up some semblance of a mid-range game shooting over smaller defenders at the college level. His shooting numbers need to improve, but with a smaller offensive load at the NBA level, it’s fair to assume his efficiency will go up.

He likely won’t ever be a dynamic playmaker averaging less than one assist per game, but he’s got a high basketball IQ and should be able to adapt to any offensive system he lands in.

Weaknesses: Though he has terrific height and length, he’s got a ways to go in the weight room before he’ll be able to contribute physically. Thor weighs just 203 lbs and will have to add 10-15 lbs before he can play significant NBA minutes.

His aggressiveness defensively worked in college against smaller players but may cause him to get into foul trouble in the NBA against bigger and smarter wings.

His lack of ball handling will limit him offensively, and if his three-point shot doesn’t develop, his ability to impact the game on the offensive end will be significantly impacted.

Overall: Thor brings one of the most intriguing packages of size, youth, and upside among forwards projected to be selected between the late first and early second rounds.

Where the Jazz proved to have a lack of versatile two-way players, Thor is the type of player that could provide added defensive coverage alongside Rudy Gobert while still complimenting the team’s offense as a potential floor spacer.

Thor will have some rough spots as a project, but his length and defensive ability would be an instant upgrade on the Jazz roster which could lead to him making a quick impact than other one-and-done players.

Previous Draft Breakdowns:

Nah’Shon “Bones” Hyland

Quentin Grimes

Jaden Springer

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Utah Jazz NBA Draft Prospect: JT Thor