How Will Ohio State Buckeyes Replace Deshaun Thomas’ Offense?
When former Ohio State forward Deshaun Thomas declared for the NBA Draft, he made a decision to further his basketball life. Thomas was a scoring stud in Columbus and his draft stock had likely peaked after his strong junior year. Although Thomas is not projected as a particularly high pick and would be lucky to get picked in the first round, it was the choice he had to make. While the choice to leave college early was a good one for Thomas, it obviously hurts Ohio State, but how much?
Deshaun Thomas led not only his team, but the entire Big Ten conference in scoring. He averaged 19.8 points per game for Ohio State, but somehow his offensive impact was even bigger than his scoring average shows. Thomas took the most shots in the Big Ten and the second most in the entire country, and made the most in the Big Ten. He also had the fourth highest field goal percentage and was the top free throw shooter in the Big Ten.
Thomas was the ultimate high quantity shooter. He shot 28.3 percent of Ohio State’s total field goals and 31.7 percent of their three-point attempts. But anyone can shoot the ball a lot. Thomas was also one of the most efficient shooters in the conference. Not only was he instant, self-created offense for Ohio State, he did so efficiently. That is a lot to ask one player, to shoot the most shots and to make them at a very high rate.
Now, with Thomas gone, who is going to be the offensive go-to-guy for the Buckeyes?
After Thomas’s 583 field goal attempts, the next most on the team was Aaron Craft. He had just 309 shots. Craft and the third highest volume shooter, Lenzelle Smith Jr., shot just 12 more combined shots than Thomas. Thomas also made more total shots than Smith and Craft combined.
Last year’s Ohio State team was completely reliant on Thomas for offense. And it paid off, by the way. He scored under 14 points just once all season, never letting them down. This also never forced any other Buckeyes to step up. But come November, Thomas won’t be on the floor to knock down shots and shred up defenses. Ohio State is going to have to get used to life without Thomas and that starts with finding scoring from someone else.