The 2011 NBA draft is fast approaching, and people are already trying to predict the outcomes of both rounds. This week alone, trying to figure out who will go where has been a doozy. So many players' stocks have fallen, then risen, only to fall again.
Today, however, I'd like to look at the prospects whose stock has fallen. Specifically, players who we had hope for initially, but now aren't so sure. One of these players is BYU guard Jimmer Fredette (pictured at left), who went from being a potential Top 5 pick to, according to draftexpress.com, a Top 20 pick.
Here are 15 players, Fredette included, whose stocks have undergone similar transformations.
Besides Kemba Walker, Shelvin Mack was the player most fun to watch during the NCAA Men's BasketballTournament. Instrumental in helping Butler reach the final, Mack averaged 20.3 points per game in the tournament. Shortly afterward, the junior declared his eligibility for the draft.
Though Mack averaged 16 points per game on the regular season and he was pegged as a late first-round pick, that stock has fallen recently. As of now, he's looking at maybe an early second-round selection.
Teams have realized that he is nothing more than a shooter who plays little defense, and while he may have strong leadership qualities, that only means so much. He wasn't expected to be taken so high to begin with, so Mack kicks this list off.
Last week, I would have picked Terrence Jones to be a lottery pick. Today, I'd be shocked if he gets drafted at all.
On numbers alone, Jones is a great talent. He averaged 15.7 points and 8.8 rebounds as a freshman at Kentucky. Yet, some new facts have come to light.
All season long, Jones clashed with Kentucky head coach John Calipari. In a game against Alabama, there was a heated exchange between the two.
Unless Jones can prove to have a "team-first" attitude in the weeks preceding the draft, I find it hard to believe that teams will want to gamble on him in the first round. Yes, he's a talented forward, but is he worth it at the price of bad team chemistry?
Don't get me wrong. Isaiah Thomas is a very talented player who had a great junior season. He averaged 16.8 points, 6.1 assists and even 1.3 steals. Overall, very good stats for a point guard.
However, compared to the rest of the guards in the draft, Thomas will be put on the back burner. He's very skilled and a lot of fun to watch, but that only will get him so far.
The fact is, all talent aside, he's 5'9" and 185 pounds. In today's NBA, that's simply too small and unless he turns into an electrifying shooter overnight, his professional future is looking bleak.
In his junior season, Chris Singleton ridiculously upped his draft stock. Then, he broke his foot. Before suffering that injury, he was averaging 13.1 points and 6.8 rebounds per game.
Given how Florida State was given a spot in the 2011 NCAA Men's BasketballTournament, it's no surprise that Singleton rushed back from his injury. While FSU did well in the tourney, he was a non-factor as he averaged just 10.5 points and 4.3 rebounds over three games. That all being said, why has his stock fallen?
Well, to be perfectly honest, teams aren't very interested in a guy who has trouble playing through pain. If Rajon Rondo can be a top contributor with a dislocated elbow and if Michael Jordan can score 38 points with the flu, then Chris Singleton should be fine with a mostly-healed broken foot.
Still, he's a good leader and has potential to be a great player. At this point, look for him to go late in the first round.
As a freshman, Tobias Harris was the star of Tennessee's squad. He averaged 15.3 points and 7.3 points in a season marred by distraction. That being said, with his school's basketball program facing potentially dire consequences, his decision to leave school early could be considered hasty.
Don't get me wrong. Harris is a good player, but is he ready for the pros? He's certainly talented, but I just have a feeling that his hasty decision making will ultimately cost him.
At 6'10" and 221 pounds, there's no question that JaJuan Johnson has size. For his senior season, he averaged 20.5 points and 8.6 rebounds. In the tournament, he posted averages of 20.5 points and 15 rebounds and upon declaring for the draft was projected as a first-round pick.
Today, however, NBA.com has Johnson going early in the second round. In all honesty, I'm not surprised at all.
As talented as Johnson is in the middle, he's extremely undersized. The stats are there, but he needs to put on at least 20 pounds of muscle before he can even think of competing in the NBA. Until he gets stronger, he is in danger of becoming just another undersized and injury prone center.
There's no denying that on the college level, Keith Benson is a monster. As a senior at Oakland, he averaged 17.9 points, 10.1 rebounds and 3.6 blocks. Yet, those stats will not get him drafted in the first round.
Benson has great size at 6'11" and 230 pounds, but he does not have the strength or speed necessary to keep up with the top big men on the professional level. Unless he works on his cardio and gets stronger, he'll be nothing more than a bench player who comes in for extra size/defense.
In three seasons at Washington State, Klay Thompson averaged 17.9 points per game, 21.6 as a junior. He is a talented young guard who drives to the basket well and has a decent jump shot. On top of that, genetics are on his side. His father is former No. 1 overall pick Mychal Thompson.
However, Thompson's draft stock has fallen because of supposed character issues. This past season, he was suspended for the final game of the regular season because he was cited for misdemeanor marijuana possession. It was a one-time occurrence, but still cause for concern.
Combine that with the idea that Thompson is just another shooter, and his draft stock falls.
Tyler Honeycutt proved himself to be a solid forward in his two seasons at UCLA. As a sophomore, he averaged 12.8 points and 7.2 rebounds and also was a decent shot blocker. Yet, Honeycutt's draft stock will slip from late-first round to potentially undrafted.
Why? Well, basically, he's 6'8" and is a scarily thin 188 pounds. That being said, he'll get eaten alive by top NBA players..like, literally!
Honestly, I'm still trying to figure out why Josh Selby chose to enter the NBA draft after one season at Kansas. Let's look at that season right now.
He wasn't a starter, only averaged 7.9 points and 2.2 assists, and only scored in double figures in a handful of games. On top of that, he played almost zero defense whatsoever. Scouts and coaches are now starting to realize that and thus his stock is falling.
Had he stayed at Kansas and matured as a player, perhaps he could have one day been a lottery pick.
At the close of his college career, Kenneth Faried was the top rebounder in NCAA history. In four years at Morehead State, the Newark, NJ native averaged 14.6 points and 12.1 rebounds. He was the center on his college team and flourished in that role.
Yet, at 6'8", Faried is too small to play center in the NBA. Whichever team drafts him will want him to become a top forward. His defense will be there, but the offense is a big risk to gamble on and could prove to be disastrous.
In looking like an offensive liability more and more each day, Faried's stock will slip lower and lower into the first round and possibly early into the second.
Brandon Knight had a great freshman season at Kentucky. He averaged 17.3 points and 4.2 assists and was instrumental in leading the Wildcats to an SEC Championship and a spot in the Final Four. Yet, it is his style of play during that stretch that is hurting his draft stock.
On the regular season, Knight shot 42 percent from the field. In the tournament, however, he only shot 32 percent. This was because in each game, he shouldered most of the load.
If there is any concern about Knight and his ability to share the ball, then his stock will plummet. Were that to happen, it would be quite a shame as his talent would be badly wasted.
There's no doubt in anyone's mind that Kawhi Leonard is a phenomenal athlete. Yet, when it comes to his talents on the court, the young forward is an enigma.
As a sophomore, he averaged 15.5 points and 10.1 rebounds. In some games, he was dominant on both offense and defense. In others, he played a more defensive game.
Given his chameleonic style of play, Leonard's draft stock will fall and rise multiple times in the days leading up to the draft. With no clear answer to what he can do on the professional level, he is a risk for any team.
I'm going to say this right now. Jimmer Fredette might be the best shooter in the history of college hoops. He led the nation in scoring last season, averaging 28.9 points per game and shooting 45 percent from the field.
Yet, besides scoring points, there isn't much else to Fredette's game. He plays minimal defense, doesn't pass the ball often and overly relies on the three-pointer. Given that, his draft stock has gone from potential lottery pick to late first-round pick.
Unless he can prove that he can indeed run an offense and pass the ball as well as drive to the basket and draw fouls, Jimmer Fredette is in danger of becoming just another shooter off a team's bench.
In all honesty, I have no clue what to make of Kemba Walker's draft stock. Some experts have him going as a Top 3 pick. Others have him in the Top 10. Long story short, if you want to debate Walker's draft stock, put some coffee on because that conversation will last a long time.
There's no denying that Walker was the man to watch during both the Big East and NCAA tournaments. In his junior season, his first one running the offense, he averaged 23.5 points and 4.5 assists.
Yet, given his spindly frame of 6'1" and 172 pounds, there are questions as to how effective Walker will be as an NBA point guard. Based on his college stats and the way he moves on the court, he has a bit of a street ball flair to him. For those unfamiliar with that phrasing, it means that Walker tends to try and put up pretty shots more often than ones that will help the team.
Don't get me wrong. Kemba Walker is a very talented basketball player who could have a bright future. However, with uncertainty surrounding his ability to pass the ball and share the workload, his draft stock could potentially get lower.