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2011 NBA Mock Draft: Isaiah Thomas, New Jersey Nets Connected

Washington guard Isaiah Thomas may be one of the tougher 2011 NBA Draft prospects to project. He's not getting any taller, which continues to scare teams away, but Thomas continues to impress in workouts and his draft stock is rising as June 23 nears. After hovering in the middle of the second round of many a 2011 NBA mock draft, Thomas is moving on up as the draft approaches, a good omen for the news he may hear in just a few weeks.

In his first 2011 NBA mock draft, SB Nation's Tom Ziller went against the grain and had Thomas as a first round pick, coming off the board at No. 30. But instead of rethinking his projections after seeing many others peg Thomas as a second-round guy, Ziller was more confident in the diminutive Washington guard's ability in the second version of his 2011 NBA mock draft.

This time around, Thomas is the 27th pick, taken by the New Jersey nets in the first round. Though Ziller doesn't call Thomas a cornerstone-type guard, he does believe the Nets could make good use of the Washington product.

The Nets could use a good change-of-pace lead guard; every team needs one. Thomas might be one of the best available late in the first round in the last couple years.

That's high praise and solid reasoning to justify the pick. Thomas can fill a void on many rosters and all it takes is one first-round team falling in love with him. Whether he comes off the board in the first round remains to be seen, but Thomas is building momentum at the right time as he leaves a lasting impression in pre-draft workouts.

For more on where Thomas may be picked, check out the rest of our 2011 NBA mock draft StoryStream. Check out UW Dawg Pound for all you Washington sports needs, as well.