2021 NBA Draft: Checking In With JT Thor

By Max Feldman

JT Thor, former Auburn Freshman, was touted as a 4 star prospect just one year ago by recruiting services, yet his NBA appeal has been crystal clear since he began his collegiate career. Thor will make his debut in the top 30 of my 2021 NBA Draft Big Board in just a few days, but has floated in the 30-40 range for about 4 months now.

In Thor’s Freshman campaign, he scored 9 points, grabbed 5 boards and blocked 1.4 shots per game. The Norcross, Georgia native had the 6th highest block percentage (6%) and 17th highest rebound percentage (17%) in the SEC. Thor played 23 minutes per game, starting all 27 he played in.

To me, the excitement about Thor’s game was far from just his numbers this season. At 6-10 and 212 pounds, the ability to defend multiple positions, switch in the pick and roll and defend the rim has an increasingly large importance with the growing prevalence of switch schemes and pick and roll sets around the league. Thor’s combination of rim protection and long term shooting promise is incredibly rare for any prospect, let alone an 18-year-old, one and done. There are raw aspects of Thor’s skillset, more than some others at his age, but he truly oozes upside with his quickness, better than advertised handle and projected fit in the modern NBA. A fluid athlete with a smooth southpaw stroke, a relentless motor, an improving handle, shot making upside and a sky high defensive ceiling. Thor has a clear cut case as a first rounder this year.

While many bring up how prospects such as Thor or Bennedict Mathurin may have stock to gain by coming back another year, forward-thinking executives and scouts should continue to push the idea that if one sees him at that caliber a year from now, take him when his value is lower and provide the prospect a year with NBA staffs with world class developers.

I had the chance to catch up with the potential first round pick who shared some news regarding physical development, current draft thoughts and much more.

How’s the draft process going?

The process has been really good. I’ve been improving since the off season started and have gained 10 pounds since then. I’m most excited to see how this experience unfolds in the next couple of weeks and months.

What NBA players do you like to model your game after? You have a very unique skillset, what are some things you’ve taken from current or former nba players?

I model my game after lanky forwards like Kevin Garnett, Kevin Durant. I try to take KD’s ability to attack close outs and shoot over defenders with his length. Garnett because of his motor and trying to create extra possessions.

Where do you believe you should be rated in this 2021 NBA Draft class?

I believe I’m a top 10 player in this draft class, but only time will tell.

What other player do you think would be a strong combination with your skillset at the next level?

Sharife Cooper.

What do you see as your best skill in terms of translating to the NBA?

Definitely using my speed to attack close outs in pick & pop situations or late rotations & catch and shoot. In addition, defensive versatility. Guarding multiple positions and having a motor will transfer and keep me on the court at this stage of my development.

What is current feeling on signing with an agent versus heading back to Auburn?

I am still 50/50.

While many bring up how prospects such as Thor or Bennedict Mathurin may have stock to gain by coming back another year, forward-thinking executives and scouts should continue to push the idea that if one sees him at that caliber a year from now, take him when his value is lower and provide the prospect a year with NBA staffs with world class developers.

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