Klay Thompson's stock is rising ahead of the 2011 NBA Draft and he appears to be well on his way to hearing his name called in the middle of the first round. Following the draft lottery, 2011 NBA mock draft began to trickle out and Thompson was moving up the boards and into the middle of the first round. He's not quite a lottery pick -- at least not yet -- but Thompson appears to be firmly planted in the first round and set to receive a coveted guaranteed contract.
Earlier, we looked at Draft Express' mock draft and found Thompson smack-dab in the middle of the first round, projected to come off the board at No. 15 to the Indiana Pacers. SB Nation's first 2011 NBA mock draft isn't quite as high on Thompson, but he's still in a good position. Tom Ziller projects Thompson will be taken by the Washington Wizards with the 18th pick in the draft.
Thompson's an interesting draft case; he's a perimeter-based scoring who might struggle to adjust to a lower-usage role in the NBA, but who has the skills to excel if he can find the right niche. I'm not sure Washington is that place, but the teens are the assumed range for him.
For Thompson, it could be an intriguing landing spot. With John Wall at the point and JaVale McGee in the paint, Thompson could thrive in Washington. And Ziller's final comment, about the teens being the assumed range for him, is a positive sign and gives Thompson an excellent starting point as the draft process begins in earnest. He'll have a chance to improve and boost his stock, but barring a catastrophe, Thompson appears to be a first round lock.
We'll be tracking Thompson and Washington's Isaiah Thomas ahead of the draft to see where they fit and where they may come off the board. Stay with our 2011 NBA mock draft StoryStream for the latest on the draft as more becomes available. For more on Thompson and the Cougars, head over to SB Nation's CougCenter. To check in with Thomas and the Huskies, visit UW Dawg Pound.