Much of where a player goes in the NBA Draft is dependent upon team needs. While there could be a stud point guard or can't miss power forward, a team, now matter how bad overall, that already has a building block at that position wouldn't be very inclined to take the top prospect.
For instance, it wouldn't make much sense for Washington to select Kyrie Irving this year after taking John Wall in the 2010 Draft. Going back even further, the Portland Trail Blazers passed on Michael Jordan in the 1984 Draft because they already had a tremendous shooting guard in Clyde Drexler.
The selection process is also about potential and projecting how the skills a player shows in college will translate to the NBA.
Just because an athlete is able to put up big numbers at the amateur level does not mean he's capable of doing the same in the pros, and it works the other way as well. Harrison Barnes is having a rough go of things at North Carolina right now, but few scouts doubt his talent and salivate over his potential upside.
So in response to the question posed in the title—is Jimmer Fredette a legitimate No. 1 prospect?—the answer is this: It depends.
It depends on what positional holes the teams at the top of the draft have and it depends on how he finishes the season. What if he bombs the rest of the way? Or what if he scores 40 a game in the NCAA Tournament and leads BYU to a National Championship?
Either scenario would significantly impact his draft status, but it also depends on what other players do. If Kemba Walker outplays Fredette the rest of the way, or even possibly in a head-to-head matchup during the tourney, wouldn't we have to rank the UConn star ahead of him?
Scouts and executives will always find negatives about a player, ranging from poor body language to how explosive of an athlete the guy is. Conventional wisdom would suggest that if someone produces at a high level in college they should be able to eventually do so at the next level, but it doesn't always work that way.
This leads to some misses by some teams and steals for others.
"OK, Ryan. This is all great, but I'm not reading this to listen to you opine on the inner mechanisms of the NBA Draft. I want to know whom my team will be picking in June."
So let's get to it. Here's a projection of the first round of the 2011 NBA Draft.