The NBA Draft is just a few days away, and teams are scrambling with their mock drafts and trying to figure out how they might be able to land that prize prospect.
One player in particular has garnered a great deal of attention.
Brigham Young guard Jimmer Fredette has been the source of much speculation as to where he will be drafted, and whether he can make the sharp transition from college basketball to the NBA.
Fredette basically carried his team on his shoulders to the Sweet 16, and the 6'2 senior has a decent chance of becoming a lottery pick, though question remain regarding what position he will play in the pros. His athleticism doesn't seem to be a huge problem, though, and it hasn't seemed to lower his stock after the combines.
There's no denying that Fredette is a scoring machine. He averaged 28.9 points per game at BYU, and had some fantastic collegiate performances. He had four games where he scored 42 points or more. Fredette also shot 45.2 percent from the field -- great numbers for a perimeter player.
A major asset for Fredette is his improvement over the years. He raised his scoring average from 21.6 points per games, and played more minutes. Fatigue didn't set in for the senior, and that's a big deal in the NBA where players are expected to last a grueling 82-game schedule.
By the nature of his game, he seems best suited for a shooting guard role, but he lacks the size for that position. That leaves him as a probable point guard, which would create defensive problems, and would call into question his ability to create as a playmaker.
As of right now, the Knicks and the Pacers seem to be suitors for Fredette. Both teams could use a spark off the bench, and Fredette certainly offers that.
New York has their eye on several players, though, and would probably need to trade up in the draft to land Fredette. It's a stretch to think that the Knicks think so highly a probably bench catalyst that they are willing to put a package together to get him.
As for Indiana, the Pacers have the 15th pick, and Fredette will probably be gone by then. The Pacers really want more help in the interior off the bench, and Fredette doesn't fulfill that need.
Then there's the other team that will no doubt be interested in Jimmer's services -- one that will no doubt pull out all the stops to land such a player.
It's probably little secret that Fredette would like to play for the Utah Jazz, and general manager Kevin O'Connor likely has his eye on him.
Fredette even said that he grew up watching and following John Stockton and Deron Williams. If that isn't a clue to what team he favors, what is?
Utah has two lottery picks, (No. 3, and No. 12) and it seems that Fredette would be an ideal selection for the organization should they choose they keep the 12th pick and draft a player who made a name for himself in nearby Provo. (Enes Kanter seems like a lock for Utah with the third pick.)
The Jazz have two small guards in Ronnie Price and Earl Watson that will test the free agent market this summer, as well as swing man C.J. Miles.
Teams usually draft on talent instead of need, so Utah won't necessarily target a guard with their two selections. Since the Jazz may lose free agent forward Andrei Kirilenko, O'Connor may want to compensate for Kirilenko's possible departure by drafting a scoring wing player.
What also doesn't help Fredette's chances of playing for Utah is the role of Devin Harris. With the departure of Deron Williams, Harris has stepped into the starting role, and is the same height as Fredette and is also a very good shooter. At 28, Harris has experience on his side, and owns more of an NBA-style game than Fredette. It might make little sense to use a pick on a player that shares similarities with a current starter.
What is interesting about Fredette's situation, in relation to the Jazz's two picks, is where he's expected to be chosen on June 23rd.
NBADraft.net currently has Fredette slotted to Utah with the 13th pick, meaning the Jazz would bypass him. At one point, the Web site had Fredette as the seventh pick in their mock draft.
DraftExpress.com currently has Fredette going seventh, which is a big raise from the 20th pick, where the Web site had him over a month ago.
It's possible a team ahead of Utah in the draft, picking between the fourth pick and the 11th pick, would draft Fredette and try to work a trade with Utah for their 12th pick and additional compensation.
More than likely, the Jazz would make the deal. Fredette's presence at Energy Solutions Arena would be a major public relations boost, and the Jazz may very well need a guard who can consistently hit outside shots, even if it means Fredette coming off the bench and Harris remaining the starter.
It also wouldn't be surprising if O'Connor pulls off a draft-day trade to land Fredette and still hold the two lottery picks. The Jazz might be on the cusp of a major youth movement, so Fredette's presence could be a key player next season.
With the departure of Jerry Sloan and missing out on the playoffs, the Jazz have reason to make changes and going with young players is probably a smart approach. Fredette wearing a Jazz uniform next season is a distinct possibility should Utah not retain their free-agent guards, and need another outside shooter.
As much as the Jazz will want Fredette, other teams have him on their wish list, too. The Suns, Timberwolves, Kings, and Bucks will likely consider drafting him.
One thing is for certain, where Fredette ends up on Thursday will be very interesting.