We hadn't seen Washington State guard Klay Thompson projected as a lottery pick, though he did come close in more than one 2011 NBA mock draft. But all that changed after the NBA Draft lottery set the order of picks on Tuesday and either Thompson is rising or his father's public relations campaign has paid-off in Los Angeles. At least one mock draft has the Cougs' star in the lottery, though it still falls in line with the likely range he'll come off the board.
The Los Angeles Times is the first place I've seen with Thompson inside the first 14 picks thus far. But the reason, either jokingly or not, stems from Mychal Thompson and his insistent hounding of reporters about his son.
13. Phoenix: Klay Thompson, 6-6, 187, Jr., Washington State. High for him but Little League dad Mychal keeps asking why I never mention Klay, now legitimately on first round.
It's true: Thompson's father has been a one-man publicist army in the last few weeks. While Klay stayed quiet, his father did the legwork, extolling the virtues of Thompson to anyone that would listen. And it seems to have worked: Thompson seems to be a sure-fire first-rounder and has seen his stock steadily rise recently.
Lottery pick or not, Thompson appears to be well on his way to a guaranteed contract when the NBA Draft rolls around. It's a proud, albeit bittersweet, moment for fans of the Cougars, who will get to see one of their own in the NBA, but at a significant cost. Washington State will take a major hit without Thompson on the floor next year, and coupled with the loss of DeAngelo Casto, the immediate future looks bleak for the Cougars.
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.