Welp, it's official. Klay is gone, and I can honestly tell you that I have not agonized over it a bit. Not because Klay's not an outstanding player that our team will dearly miss, but I knew LONG ago that this would be the case. Klay had always maintained that if he was likely to be a first-round pick then he would enter the draft. Can't blame him for that.That is the sole reason I have not agonized over this decision. Because after watching Klay throw up that Sweet J over the past three years, I've always knew in my gut that he was first-round material. So his official declaration was no surprise, and while I had my share of discontent over this past season, I'm happy for Klay and hope he goes as high as possible. But where will that be???
With the draft about 6 weeks away and all the names are officially in, A LOT can change between now and then. Teams will begin to pick apart the prospects, from workouts to the combine to tape. Much like the recently concluded NFL draft, we will see a fluctuation of stock, player by player.
Klay has seen his stock rise heavily as of late. Before the conclusion of the season, he was hardly considered a first round pick by anybody in the online world. That has changed significantly as of late. ESPN.com has Klay as the second best shooting guard prospect behind the more athletic Alec Burks of Colorado. Chad Ford of ESPN.com, whom once had Klay as a second round-undrafted prospect, now has him ranked 18th overall going to the Washington Wizards in the first round.
Doug Gottlieb, a college basketball guru for ESPN, put out his player rankings recently and had Klay all the way up at 10th overall. He even said, "He might be the only legit NBA 2-guard in the draft." Some high praise from Mr. Gottlieb, who once slammed Klay for his bone-headed run-in with the law.
Here where some other mock drafts from around the internet see Klay going. Take them for what their worth:
NBAdraft.net: 15th overall to the Indiana Pacers
Hoopsworld.com: 21st overall to the Portland Trailblazers
nba-draft.com: 23rd overall to the Houston Rockets
Paul Banks (Washington Times): 25th overall to the Boston Celtics
draftexpress.com: 18th overall to the Washington Wizards
While it is still relatively early in the process, you can see that most people see Klay going in the 15-25 range. However, with some good workouts and a solid combine, I wouldn't be surprised to see Klay fall into the lottery to a team starving for a sharp-shooter.
Because the picture will definitely change between now and draft day, I will refrain from making a guess as to where he will ultimately land. But I must say, I think he would be a great fit for the Washington Wizards at 18. The Wizards also hold a high lottery pick in the draft, which they will likely use on a power forward or center prospect. If Klay lands to them at 18, he would be the perfect compliment to John Wall and would add to a great young core of players for the Wizards.