With the NBA Playoffs in its final stages, it’s time to take a look at the All-Mountain West NBA team. Although we could have included Fresno State’s Paul George and others on this list, we limited the roster to players that have played in a true Mountain West game, which includes BYU’s Jimmer Fredette and Utah’s Andrew Bogut.
Point Guard: Jimmer Fredette, BYU (New York Knicks) - Fredette, the Wooden and Naismith award winner in 2011 with BYU, has yet to prove his value as the 10th overall pick in the 2011 Draft. Fredette averaged seven points per game in two seasons with Sacramento, and has since bounced around with Chicago, New Orleans and New York. Jimmer currently plays for the Westchester Knicks, New York’s D-League affiliate.
Shooting Guard: Kawhi Leonard, San Diego State (San Antonio Spurs) - Arguably the best player to come out of the Mountain West is Leonard, the 2014 NBA Finals MVP and the future of the aging Spurs. Leonard owns a career slash line of 17.2/7.6/2.4, as well as 2.1 steals per game. Nicknamed “The Claw”, Leonard also posted consecutive NBA Defensive Player of the Year awards in 2015 and 2016.
Small Forward: Tony Snell, New Mexico (Chicago Bulls) - A tough-minded defensive presence with an emerging offensive skill-set, Snell has developed into a coveted role player in the NBA landscape. The former New Mexico star probably needs a change of scenery from Chicago but he’s still a suitable talent for many NBA rosters.
Power Forward: Larry Nance Jr., Wyoming (Los Angeles Lakers) - The 27th overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, Nance Jr. figures to be in the mix for years to come with a rebuilding Lakers franchise. The 6’ 9” forward started in 22 of 63 games during the 2015-2016 season, seeing over 20 minutes of action per night.
Center: Andrew Bogut, Utah (Golden State Warriors) - One of two Mountain West players taken first overall in the NBA Draft (Anthony Bennett), the Aussie has made a name for himself as a reliable starting center. Bogut owns a career slash line of 10.3/8.9/2.3 to go along with 1.6 blocks a night. Bogut earned his first ring as a member of last year’s Golden State Warriors championship team.
Point Guard, Tyler Johnson, Fresno State (Miami Heat) - Johnson has emerged as a solid contributor for the Miami Heat in his two NBA seasons, most recently posting 8.7 points per game in 36 contests. The Fresno State product also shot an impressive 48.6% from the field this season.
Power Forward, Jason Smith, Colorado State (Orlando Magic) - A reliable role player in his eight seasons as a pro, Smith has averaged 6.5 points and 3.5 rebounds per game. The seven-footer has only appeared in the playoffs in two seasons, which both ended up being 4-2 series losses (‘08 76ers and ‘11 Hornets).
Shooting Guard, Rashad Vaughn, UNLV (Milwaukee Bucks) - Vaughn was taken 17th overall by the Bucks in last year’s draft, but had a difficult time finding his groove as a rookie. The 19-year old still has loads of potential, but really struggled finding the bottom of the net his first season in the pros, finishing with a 30.5% mark from the field.
Small Forward, Cameron Bairstow, New Mexico (Detroit Pistons) - Bairstow emerged as an NBA prospect after posting averages of 20.4 points and 7.4 rebounds in his senior campaign at New Mexico. A second round pick of the Chicago Bulls in 2014, Bairstow was recently traded to the Detroit Pistons in exchange for Spencer Dinwiddie.
Power Forward, Lou Amundson, UNLV (New York Knicks) - The journeyman forward has played for ten different teams in his ten year career but he’s always found a way to stick on NBA rosters. Amundson is just a year removed from his best NBA season in which he averaged 6 points and 6 rebounds per game for the New York Knicks.
Power Forward, Christian Wood, UNLV (Philadelphia 76ers) - Wood left UNLV after just his sophomore season and despite going un-drafted, he still got his chance in the league with the 76ers. Wood saw action in 17 games this season, averaging 3.6 points per game.
Center, Joel Anthony, UNLV (Detroit Pistons) - Anthony was a two-time NBA champion with the Miami Heat in 2012 and 2013, but hasn’t averaged more than 10 minutes per game since.
A big tip of the hat to Max Magee for the idea and assist in the making of this article.