NBA Draft 2011: Jimmer Fredette and 5 Players Making Waves Before the Draft
Despite the college basketball season concluding over two months ago and the NBA combine ending weeks ago, players are still fluctuating on draft boards for a multitude of reasons.
The past few weeks have been filled with teams holding workouts for potential draftees and being discouraged or encouraged by the performances they witnessed.
The top of the draft has not changed. The top ten is probably going to go the way many predicted back in May. After that, it was always viewed as a crapshoot, and guess what, it still is.
Nevertheless, here are five guys who have been making news, for better or worse, over the past couple weeks.
Bismack Biyombo was one of the enigmas coming into the draft process. The feelings on him initially were all over the board. I remember reading about how he could be the No. 1 overall pick.
After the initial love-fest, Biyombo settled down to a top ten pick, likely going to a team that needed help on the interior defense such as the Detroit Pistons or Golden State Warriors.
At the Adidas Eurocamp, held last week, Biyombo may have hurt his stock even further. His workout was reportedly pretty bad as it was obvious he had no offensive game whatsoever. That's not his strength, but typically when a guy goes through a showcase of sorts, his strengths are put on display. Such was not the case for Biyombo, which is a bit odd.
I still expect for Biyombo to be drafted in the top half of the first round, but his Eurocamp workout may have prevented him from being a top ten pick.
Donatas Motiejunas is another european player whose stock was probably hurt by his performance as the Eurocamp.
Though not nearly as well-publicized as Biyombo or other european players such as Jan Vesely or Jonas Valanciunas, Motiejunas was still believed to be a late-lottery pick because of his size (7'0") and talent.
At the Eurocamp, however, he shot terribly from the outside despite reportedly playing along the three point line during his time in the Euro leagues.
Because he's only listed at 220 pounds, he's not going to be strong enough to play down low, so it may actually do him good that he's projected to be drafted outside the lottery. By being on a quality team, he'll be able to sit the bench, gain weight, and not be pressured to contribute immediately.
Ladies and gentlemen, meet the NBA's version of Daequan Bowers.
Reggie Jackson's stock has fluctuated considerably over the course of the last year. Initially, Jackson was viewed as a second-round pick at best, but throughout the college season his exceptional play caused his stock to rise all the way up to being regarded as a possible lottery selection.
Then Jackson got hurt just before the draft combine in Chicago with an apparent knee injury. He pulled out of the combine and the early workouts, but was supposed to be ready by last week, when he had scheduled workouts with a few teams.
Only problem is, he didn't attend any of the workouts. There's now massive uncertainty as to just how serious the knee injury is, much like the concern that arose with Da'Quan Bowers just before the NFL Draft.
Now, Jackson should still be a first-round pick, but it's more likely he'll be selected in the late 20's than in the lottery. Of any prospect, his stock has probably fallen more than any prospects over the past couple weeks.
Enough of these guys who've performed poorly, I'm a positive guy and it's time to focus on a couple guys who have improved their draft position.
The first of which is out of Cleveland State in shooter Norris Cole. ESPN's Chad Ford had this to say about Cole recently:
"Cole has wowed with his athletic ability and his ability to get to the basket. I've had a couple of teams tell me he's the fourth-ranked point guard on their board behind (Brandon) Knight, (Kemba) Walker and (Jimmer) Fredette. He could go as high as No. 21 to the Blazers."
Before the draft process began, Cole was a projected early second-round pick, but his performances in workouts has put him where I always thought he should've been: in the first round.
Keep in mind that there's a big difference between the first and second round picks. First round picks receive guaranteed contracts, whereas second rounders do not. So, thanks to Cole's exceptional efforts in the workouts, he may have just guaranteed himself a multi-year deal.
That is, unless the new collective bargaining agreement completely changes everything, but I'm not discussing things that'll make my head explode.
Before the college basketball season concluded, there were more varying predictions of Jimmer Fredette's NBA future than any I can remember.
There were some who saw him as the next Adam Morrison and others who viewed him as the next Stephen Curry.
It appears teams and scouts feel he is more towards the latter. Fredette has been consistently climbing draft boards and is now a perceived lottery pick. He's apparently been shooting lights out in workouts and has done enough elsewhere to warrant a lottery selection.
One team that is seriously considering him in the top 10 is the Sacramento Kings. If Kemba Walker is already gone, the Kings may reach for him. I don't think Fredette would be the best fit for the Kings, but somehow I don't think the Maloofs care what I think. Jerks.
At worst, his home-state team, the New York Knicks, would love to snatch him up at No. 17. Just imagine a gunner like Fredette in coach Mike D'Antoni's system that's looking for an outside shooter. Can you say, jackpot?
Also, if the Utah Jazz elect to take a big man with the third overall pick, they could definitely use their 12th pick on Fredette, bringing the BYU boy back to within 100 miles of his college campus.