The Charlotte Hornets own their own first-round pick (11) and are owed second-round picks from the Brooklyn Nets (57) and the Los Angeles Clippers (56). Over the next couple of months, leading up to the 2021 NBA Draft, Swarm & Sting will take a look at prospects hoping to hear their name called on draft night.
JT Thor is one of the fastest rising prospects in the 2021 draft class as NBA teams are falling in love with his length, offensive skillset, and youth. After the college season, he cleared the questions surrounding his age and is now one of the youngest players that will be selected on July 29.
Looking at Thor’s stats and awards you wouldn’t be that shocked considering the rough season Auburn went through with injuries. Thor averaged 9 points, 5 rebounds and 1 assist on just 23 minutes per game during 2020-21.
The part of Thor’s game that caught our eyes is his defense. The mix of length (7’3” wingspan), quickness, and right reads make him a very intriguing defensive prospect. During the college season, he was arguably the best Auburn defender as he could guard positions 1-5 in front of him in switching situations. This could be the case as he transitions to the NBA, teams will love to use him as a swiss knife to deactivate the opponent’s offensive scheme. Thor’s block percentage was at 5.8 per game, per Bart Torvik.
Even if production was not quite there, he was a very eager shooter. Shooting 29% from the three-point line and 74% from the free-throw line are not promising numbers, but those numbers could very easily improve with a good bit of work in his first few years in the league.
Thor’s shooting mechanics are consistent, natural and his touch is solid. He is also capable of attacking the basket with the ball in his hands. His handle isn’t the prettiest but it was as effective as needed for his playstyle.
Thor will surely need to bulk up a little bit to handle NBA competition on defense. 203 pounds is not enough for a player that is projected to be a power forward or a small-ball center in the league.
Offensive consistency will also need to improve. He will need to find a clear identity and focus on parts of his bag to be more effective. Thor’s overall skill level needs to improve with his handle to increase his effectiveness on the offensive side of the floor.
As stated, the Thor stock market is rising pretty high in the final weeks before the draft, but his projection still looks a little bit lower than the 11th pick that the Hornets own. Charlotte recently hosted Thor for a workout in order to take a closer look at him.
If the Hornets stay at 11, he could be considered a reach and it would make much more sense to get him after a trade down in the draft.
His fit would be really interesting on a Hornets team that is still pushing on versatility and length. A frontcourt made up of Thor, PJ Washington, and Miles Bridges could be very fun to watch.
The 2021 NBA Draft will be held on Thursday, July 29 from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. The draft will be televised on ABC (first-round only) and ESPN.