When Klay Thompson declared for the NBA Draft about a month ago, many of us wondered if he might be flirting with the second round. But with the NBA Draft Lottery now in the books, not only does Thompson appear to be a consensus first rounder -- he might just be making his way into one of those top 14 picks.
DraftExpress, in my opinion the best NBA Draft site out there because of its extensive scouting efforts, released its updated mock draft via Yahoo! last night after the order was settled by the lottery, and they project Thompson to go 15th overall to the Indiana Pacers:
Indiana has solid young players at every position, meaning this pick could very well be available if the right piece became available. In lieu of a trade, acquiring some additional depth on the wing makes some sense, especially considering that Mike Dunleavy is a free agent and Brandon Rush has not yet proven himself to be a consistent contributor.
Others aren't quite as high on Thompson. ESPN's Chad Ford has him slated to go 18th overall to the Washington Wizards (warning - link is Insider; you'll just have to trust me this is what he said):
Nick Young is heading into free agency, and the Wizards could use another shooter in their backcourt to complement Wall. Thompson rivals Fredette as the best shooter in the draft and would be a great fit for the Wizards.
Because great minds apparently think alike, our very own Tom Ziller at SBNation.com has Thompson also going 18th overall to the Wizards in his 2011 NBA Mock Draft:
Thompson's an interesting draft case; he's a perimeter-based scoring who might struggle to adjust to a lower-usage role in the NBA, but who has the skills to excel if he can find the right niche. I'm not sure Washington is that place, but the teens are the assumed range for him.
Personally, I think Thompson would thrive in a lower-usage role in the NBA. Because his all-around game is so good, and because he can be effective just hunting a shot from off the ball, I've never found him to be a guy who needs to dominate the rock or shoot the ball 20 times to be effective. It seemed like he gladly would have taken fewer shots the last two years if he had had a just a little help from the rest of his team.
At any rate, it's going to be fun to see where Thompson ends up. Been a long time since we WSU fans have been able to watch the NBA Draft with any real interest.