2014 NBA Draft Prospect Workout: Xavier Thames and Co.

Xavier Thames of San Diego State makes his move. (Photo: Dirk Hansen)

After more than a week layoff, the Sacramento Kings brought a group of six draft prospects on Saturday morning.  Duke’s Rodney Hood was supposed to headline the group that included Kyle Casey (Harvard), Jarell Eddie (Virginia Tech), C.J. Fair (Syracuse), Joe Jackson (Memphis) and Xavier Thames (San Diego State).  But the smooth shooting forward opted to reschedule his visit with Sacramento and was replaced by JaKarr Sampson from St. John’s.

Kyle Casey (Harvard), Jarell Eddie (Virginia Tech), C.J. Fair (Syracuse), Joe Jackson (Memphis) and Xavier Thames (San Diego State). – See more at: http://cowbellkingdom.com/2014/06/11/dukes-rodney-hood-to-headline-nba-draft-workout-hosted-by-sacramento-kings/#sthash.wMECReij.dpuf
Kyle Casey (Harvard), Jarell Eddie (Virginia Tech), C.J. Fair (Syracuse), Joe Jackson (Memphis) and Xavier Thames (San Diego State). – See more at: http://cowbellkingdom.com/2014/06/11/dukes-rodney-hood-to-headline-nba-draft-workout-hosted-by-sacramento-kings/#sthash.wMECReij.dpuf

JaKarr Sampson

  • Age: 21
  • Position: Forward
  • College: St. John’s
  • Height: 6-8.5
  • Weight: 207 lbs.
  • Draft Express Top 100 Ranking: 83
  • Quick Breakdown: Sampson is a lean, athletic wing without range.

Analysis: A raw, inefficient offensive player, Sampson will have to fight his way into the league on his length and defensive potential.  The 21-year-old forward averaged 12.8 points and 6.1 rebounds in 29 minutes per game as a sophomore at St. John’s, but has no perimeter game to speak of and shot just 56.5 percent from the line.

Kyle Casey

  • Age: 24
  • Position: Forward
  • College: Harvard
  • Height: 6-7.5
  • Weight: 227 lbs.
  • Draft Express Top 100 Ranking: NR
  • Quick Breakdown: Casey is a long-armed forward with a huge vert.

Analysis: Casey has the measurements to play at the next level, but not the numbers.  With a 7-1 wingspan and a 41-inch max vert, the Harvard grad has NBA length, but he will most likely rely on his college degree and not his ability to play basketball going forward.  Casey averaged 9.4 points on 45.7 percent shooting from the field in 22 minutes as a senior, but shot just 28 percent from 3-point range.

this guy’s gonna be a stud
this guy’s gonna be a stud”

Jarell Eddie

  • Age: 22
  • Position: Forward
  • College: Virginia Tech
  • Height: 6-7
  • Weight: 220 lbs.
  • Draft Express Top 100 Ranking: NR
  • Quick Breakdown: Another wing prospect with limited upside.

Analysis: Eddie struggled on the offensive end his senior year at Virginia Tech, averaging 13.1 points on just 35.8 percent shooting.  He shot 37.6 percent from long range, but it’s hard to see Eddie making the cut at the NBA level.

“Marcus is a physical player,” Bratz said.  “Elfrid Payton is tough and he did very well (against Smart).  Those are two really good guards.  Elfrid had a really good workout.” – See more at: http://cowbellkingdom.com/2014/06/02/sacramento-kings-evaluate-nba-hopefuls-marcus-smart-noah-vonleh-tyler-ennis-and-elfrid-payton/#sthash.fx3iGLd4.dpuf

C.J. Fair

  • Age: 22
  • Position: Forward
  • College: Syracuse
  • Height: 6-8
  • Weight: 218 lbs.
  • Draft Express Top 100 Ranking: 71
  • Quick Breakdown:  An experienced college player that took a step back as a senior.

Analysis: If Fair entered the draft last year, he probably would have been drafted in the early second round.  But as a senior, he was asked to play more power forward and was slow to adapt to the position.  After shooting 46.9 percent from long range as a junior, he hit just 27.6 percent from deep as a senior.

Like all Syracuse players, there is a question about how he will defend at the NBA level.  Fair is a back-end-of-the-draft prospect or a possible rookie free agent target for teams.  He will have to prove himself at Summer League or in the D-League level to get a legitimate shot in the NBA.

Joe Jackson

  • Age: 22
  • Position: Point Guard
  • College: Memphis
  • Height: 6-0
  • Weight: 167 lbs.
  • Draft Express Top 100 Ranking: NR
  • Quick Breakdown: Jackson is a solid all-around point guard with limited size and strength.

Analysis: Like Fair, Jackson’s strides as a junior at Memphis were washed away in his senior season.  After winning the Conference USA Player of the Year award in year three, Jackson’s long range shooting percentages dropped from 44.7 percent to just 28 percent in his final season at Memphis.  He is a passing point guard with solid steal numbers, lateral quickness and speed.  But his slight frame makes his journey to the NBA a long one.

“Marcus is a physical player,” Bratz said.  “Elfrid Payton is tough and he did very well (against Smart).  Those are two really good guards.  Elfrid had a really good workout.” – See more at: http://cowbellkingdom.com/2014/06/02/sacramento-kings-evaluate-nba-hopefuls-marcus-smart-noah-vonleh-tyler-ennis-and-elfrid-payton/#sthash.fx3iGLd4.dpuf

Xavier Thames

  • Age: 23
  • Position: Point Guard
  • College: San Diego State
  • Height: 6-3.5
  • Weight: 185 lbs.
  • Draft Express Top 100 Ranking: 97
  • Quick Breakdown:  A local, score-first guard with shooting touch.

Analysis: Thames had a breakout senior season at San Diego State, averaging 18.1 points, 3.3 assists and 1.6 steals per game for the Aztecs.  He improved as a 3-point shooter all four years in college, finishing his senior season at 36.7 percent from deep.  A local kid from the Elk Grove area, Thames has an outside shot of being drafted, but his path to the NBA will probably take him to the D-League or overseas.

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About: James Ham

James Ham provides coverage through news analysis and in-depth interviews with Kings players and staff. James is also one of the producers behind the award-winning, independent documentary "Small Market, Big Heart". James graduated UC Davis with a degree in history and is happily married with two children.