Longhorns in the NBA draft

Three Texas underclassmen declared for this week’s NBA draft, and they’re hoping to give the Longhorns 10 first-round selections in the past 12 years. Express-News staff writer Mike Finger takes a look at their chances:


Position: Power forward

What he’s done: A first-team freshman All-American selection last season, Thompson averaged 13.1 points and 7.8 rebounds per game. He was the Longhorns’ best player during the final two months of the season, averaging 16.1 points, 10.1 rebounds and 2.8 blocks in an eight-game stretch that turned him into a lottery prospect.

Who he’s like: At UT, he drew natural comparisons to LaMarcus Aldridge, who also was a big man who loved to block shots and run the floor. But at 6-foot-9, Thompson isn’t as tall as Aldridge and won’t enter the NBA with the same polished offensive moves. A better parallel might be drawn with the Hawks’ Josh Smith, although no one is likely to ever question Thompson’s competitiveness.

Where he might go: Draft analysts are saying Thompson could go anywhere from No. 5 to No. 20. Golden State supposedly wants to use the No. 11 pick on an athletic forward, and it might as well be Thompson.


Position: Small forward/shooting guard

What he’s done: One of the best scorers in the Big 12 as a sophomore last season, Hamilton was a first-team all-conference pick and a second-team All-American. He averaged 18.6 points and 7.7 rebounds, shooting 38.5 percent on 3-pointers and grabbing more defensive rebounds than anyone in the conference. In five postseason games, he upped his production to 19.4 points and 8.2 rebounds.

Who he’s like: There aren’t many NBA players who can get away with playing the kind of lackadaisical defense Hamilton was often guilty of at UT. But on the offensive end, his 6-8, 228-pound frame, smooth outside shooting stroke, herky-jerky driving style and underrated post-up ability brings to mind former Spurs shooting guard Steve Smith.

Where he might go: The lottery isn’t a sure thing, and he could slip into the 20s if teams aren’t convinced about his all-around game. But if the Rockets don’t find a center to their liking at No. 14, they might take a look at adding some offense on the wing.


Position: Point guard/shooting guard

What he’s done: As the player Rick Barnes called his best all-around guard last season, Joseph was a second-team freshman All-American and averaged 10.4 points, 3.6 rebounds and 3.0 assists. He made 41.3 percent of his 3-point attempts and averaged a steal per game.

Who he’s like: If he had better passing skills, it would be tempting to compare his quietly efficient, low-flash game to Andre Miller. The 6-2 Joseph plays terrific on-the-ball defense, has nice quickness and can make an open jumper. But he does nothing spectacularly well. NBADraft.net says his best pro comparison is Pacers guard A.J. Price, which isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement.

Where he might go: Joseph, who didn’t look like a one-and-done candidate at UT, surprised many by staying in the draft and isn’t a lock to be taken in the first round. But he was one of the nation’s highest-rated recruits coming out of high school, and a team might still be attracted by that potential at the top of the second round.

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