The 2011 NBA Draft is tonight at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN so it is time to take a look at the final mock drafts to see where Mountain West players will be picked. The two first-rounders are expected to be BYU's Jimmer Fredette and San Diego State's Kawhi Leonard. Malcolm Thomas also from SDSU has a good shot of being drafted in the second round.
The individual site within here at SB Nation had a mock draft, so we will start with that 2011 NBA mock draft.
Sactown Royalty selected Kawhi Leonard with the seventh overall pick:
Leonard isn't the sexy pick here, especially with Kemba Walker, Jimmer and Jan Vesely still on the board. I'm of the opinion that Kawhi's the best pick for the Kings here, though. Yes, it's true the Kings have been on the lookout for another point guard, but what they're really looking for at that position is another facilitator, and Walker and Jimmer are more scorers, both with question marks about their defense. At their other hole, small forward, Vesely could be an intriguing option, but he's much too raw in my opinion, and while he has elite athleticism and length, he still can't shoot, rebound or play defense all that well.
SLC Dunk takes Jimmer Fredette with the 12 overal pick:
Who knows how this marriage will work. The only way this pick works out is if Jimmer plays and Jimmer plays well. There would be a heap of pressure for him to perform in front of his loyal fans; that's something he's thrived on though. Can he do it at the NBA level? That's what everyone wants to know. If he doesn't play well, then what? Picking Jimmer would put pressure on the team and on the player. That might rock the relationship.
Here is Chad Ford of ESPN and his mock draft ($):
Ford has the same order as the SB Nation mock draft for Leonard and Fredette.
No. 7 Toronto Raptors, Kawhi Leonard:
Analysis: Walker wins this battle by process of elimination. In the past 24 hours, it sounds like the push for Jimmer Fredette, Kawhi Leonard, Alec Burks and even Klay Thompson has cooled. I'm told that ideally the Kings would like to find a way to trade this pick for a veteran.
But if they stay here, I'm reluctantly putting Walker here. If he does go to the Kings, he's going to breathe a huge sigh of relief. From what I can gather, he's in danger of sliding, and sliding far, if the Kings don't take him here.
No. 12 Utah Jazz, Jimmer Fredette: Analysis: I wonder ... will crazed Jimmer fans rush to the streets of Salt Lake City and Provo if Fredette's name is called here? He's been a long shot for weeks because we've had the Jazz taking Brandon Knight.
But if Utah goes with Kanter, it's likely they'll select Jimmer here. I think it's a good pick. Jazz fans probably think it's the best pick in franchise history. We'll see.
SBNation.com's Tom Ziller has his own mock draft:
7. Sacramento Kings: Kawhi Leonard, F, San Diego State
Pray God let the Parker trade happen, because if not, it does appear the Kings really like Jimmer Fredette, particularly the coaching staff. This isn't so much an owner-front office split, as has been reported. More a push to grab the guy who can provide as much as possible next season, not over the course of a rookie contract or career. This is a dumb way to make decisions. I am conscientiously objecting to the inevitable and putting Leonard here.
13. Phoenix Suns: Jimmer Fredette, G, BYU
7. Sacramento Kings: Jimmer Fredette, G, BYU
Should the Kings keep this pick, the team will decide between Jimmer Fredette, Kawhi Leonard, and to a lesser extent, Klay Thompson and Kemba Walker. Thompson emerged on the team's board with an outstanding showing in a private workout this past weekend, where he outperformed Alec Burks.
Fredette would be the choice that makes the most sense from a marketing perspective, which is an important consideration for a team trying to build a new arena and debating whether to stay in Sacramento.
14. Houston Rockets: Kawhi Leonard, F, San Diego State
This would be a fairly disappointing fall for Leonard, who had strong supporters in front offices drafting much higher than this (Toronto at No. 5, Washington at 6 and Sacramento at 7). Ultimately, positional needs and team preferences could drop him down to the end of the lottery, where the Rockets would be ecstatic to land him.
FoxSports.com has their 4.0 mock draft out:
7. Sacramento Kings - Kawhi Leonard, F, San Diego State: Leonard's poor combine athleticism results might be attributed to the fact that he didn't warm up ahead of time. His lack of shooting ability is a concern, although he has shown some improvement after the season ended. The Kings could always opt for a PG here, but they appear to be leaning toward Leonard and could potentially find a sleeper like Norris Cole at 35.
12. Utah Jazz - Jimmer Fredette, G, BYU: Taking Kanter at 3 allows Utah to grab a player with a built-in fan base. There are questions whether Jimmer can make it as a full-time PG, but even if he can't he's certain to make it in the role of a Ben Gordon, Eddie House, instant-offense scorer.
That seems to be enough, especially since the consensus seems to be Fredette to the Jazz at 12 and Leonard to the Kings at seven.