NBA Draft 2011: Klay Thompson and 4 Players Whose Stocks Have Skyrocketed
Former Washington State guard Klay Thompson has seen his NBA Draft stock soar in the past few weeks.
The six-foot-seven 21-year-old averaged 21.6 points on 40 percent three-point shooting during his junior season with the Cougars.
In Chad Ford's mock drafts (which can be accessed as an "Insider" on espn.com), Thompson has climbed all the way from No. 18 to No. 10 to the Milwaukee Bucks. Thompson's being looked at as high as No. 6 to the Washington Wizards.
Thompson is a sharpshooter with the size to shoot over NBA shooting guards, and his impressive six-foot-nine wingspan will allow him to guard those same players. His lanky frame and sweet jump shot have some comparing him to Hall-of-Famer Reggie Miller.
Thompson will be a lottery pick, but not every prospect whose stock has risen will be. For some it's the difference between a second and first-round contract. Others are lucky to be drafted at all.
Here are four more players whose stocks have risen as the 2011 NBA Draft approaches.
USC C Nikola Vucevic
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Nikola Vucevic, a 20-year-old seven-footer from USC, didn't even make the cut in ESPN's Chad Ford's original mock drafts.
But, as usual, the need for big bodies appears to be overwhelming, and Vucevic's 260-pound frame is one of the biggest. Vucevic now looks to be a top-20 pick come Thursday with teams as high as the Houston Rockets at No. 14 looking to draft him.
Vucevic averaged a double-double with 17 points and ten rebounds during his junior season with the Trojans. He's not an explosive athlete, but he brings toughness and range out to the three-point line, reminiscient of Rasheed Wallace.
Georgia Tech PG Iman Shumpert
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Iman Shumpert is the big point guard out of Georgia Tech who made a surprise appearance on Chad Ford's latest mock draft at No. 17 to the New York Knicks.
Shumpert, who hadn't appeared in any of the previous mock drafts, averaged 17 points as a junior on the Yellow Jackets. His real value, however, comes on the defensive side of the ball. Shumpert averaged 2.7 steals during his final collegiate season.
If Shumpert goes to the Knicks at No. 17, he'll compliment the old and slow point guard Chauncey Billups well.
Duke F Kyle Singler
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Also making his first appearance in the first round of Chad Ford's mock draft is former Duke forward Kyle Singler. Ford has the Oklahoma City Thunder with the 24th pick.
At last year's draft, fellow Dukie Jon Scheyer was not drafted after four remarkable (and arguably better) seasons as a Blue Devil. That won't happen to Singler because of his size. Teams value big shooters.
Singler averaged 17 points per game for his final three season at Duke. That type of consistently bodes well for the 23-year-old, as does his ability to fit into any system as a long-range threat.
The big question mark, as with all Duke players, will be his defense. He's not quick enough to stay with the likes of Derrick Williams or Carmelo Anthony, players he might be asked to guard at the next level.
Lithuanian C Jonas Valanciunas
Word is that Jonas Valanciunas will be stuck in Europe for at least another season. ESPN's Chad Ford's latest mock draft has Valanciunas falling to No. 14 to the Houston Rockets.
But while his draft position is falling, his draft stock is rising. There were rumors that the Cleveland Cavaliers were leaning towards taking the 19-year-old seven-footer ahead of Enes Kanter with the fourth overall pick.
Valanciunas is longer and taller than Kanter. He might not ever put up the same rebounding stats as Kanter, but he should be able to block and change more shots.
We'll see, I guess. But not this year.