With the 60th pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, Washington Huskies junior guard Isaiah Thomas was selected by the . Thomas chose to forgo his eligibility at Washington and declare for the NBA Draft in a move that surprised many initially. Instead of choosing to test the waters, Thomas made it clear from the start that he planned to stay in the draft due to a variety of factors. His age was already that of a senior after attending prep school, his minutes at the point guard spot would be significantly diminished this coming season due to the rotation and his stock was about as high as it could be following the 2010-11 season.
Listed at 5-foot-10 by DraftExpress, Thomas led the Huskies with 16.8 points per game, 6.1 assists per game, and 3.5 rebounds per game.
Although his biggest moment from this past season was the Pac-10 title-winning shot against the Arizona Wildcats in the 2011 Pac-10 Tournament, perhaps his most significant performance to his NBA potential was the 27 points and 13 assists he scored against Cal this past January - as described in today's feature, Thomas is a better point guard than his reputation might suggest. His 213 assists as a junior, the second most in UW single-season history, trailing only Will Conroy who had 219 in 2005, but his efficiency as a distributor is well within the range of an effective NBA point guard.
At his height, the biggest question for Thomas is about his ability to defend at the NBA level. But Thomas showed he can play the point, is a surprising distributor and can knock down shots like a shooting guard. While Thomas will not receive the guaranteed contract first round picks will, he still will have a chance to prove himself, and battle for a roster spot.
After sweating it out all night, Isaiah Thomas was the 60th, and final, pick of the 2011 NBA Draft. What a crazy night, but it all turned out well for Thomas in the end.