2013 Draft Preview: CENTERS
The 2013 NBA Draft is just over two weeks away and, by all accounts, it’s a deep one for big men. With four picks among the first 33, the Wine and Gold might be in the market for one of this Draft’s top centers.
From Nerlens Noel, the player projected by many to be taken with the top pick, to a raw Rudy Gobert from France, there’s plenty of intrigue surrounding where this year’s crop of big men wind up.
Here’s a quintet of some of the best and most-analyzed centers set to enter the league with the Class of 2013 …
Steven Adams –7-0, 255 – Born: July 28, 1993 – (Rotorua, New Zealand) – College: Pitt –- native New Zealander named to Big East All-Rookie team; seen as just scratching the surface of his potential – has a very high ceiling; true seven-footer; fluid athlete, runs the floor very well; tremendous motor, very competitive and coachable; efficient finisher and excellent offensive rebounder; very limited offensively but has a good feel for the game based on his limited experience at the college level; good passer for a big man; solid fundamentals; free throw shooting is a major weakness; not an aggressive player, needs time to develop his confidence; post skills are still a work in progress; working to correct a hitch in his jumper; excellent shot-blocker, even when he’s out of position; not a great rebounder for his size, but still learning the nuances of it at a high level
Rudy Gobert –7-2, 238 – Born: June 26, 1992 – (Saint-Quentin, France) – Team: Cholet –- measured at 7-2, but at 220 pounds has a ways to go to fill out his frame; has an enormous – 7-9 – wingspan and a standing reach of 9-7; succeeded against lesser competition in France; excellent shotblocker who uses his superb length and speed to finish around the rim; mobility makes him difficult for other big men to guard, especially in pick-and-roll situations; toughness should improve as he adds muscle; not an explosive athlete; could be a very intimidating rim-protector at the next level; lacks any semblance of a midrange game; somewhat mechanical in his movement; lacks a reliable post move; doesn’t have lower body strength to establish position in the post; has a laid-back demeanor and tends to coast; offensively limited but could develop into a game-changer in a few years
Alex Len – 7-1, 255 – Born: June 16, 1993 – (Antratsit, Ukraine) – College: Maryland -– has already drawn comparisons to Zydrunas Ilgauskas; made big leap from freshman to sophomore season at Maryland; added significant weight to a 7-1 frame; legitimate back-to-the-basket center with amazing dexterity and agility; soft hands, nice touch and the makings of a solid offensive skill-set; possesses tools to become a prolific rebounder; good base and wide shoulders, so adding muscle shouldn’t be a concern; strong rim-protector (averaged 2.1 bpg as a sophomore); doesn’t turn 20 until the week before Draft; limited range; pick-and-roll/pick-and-pop skills still a work in progress; needs to improve intensity level; can be foul- and turnover-prone; moves well laterally for his size; some of the best potential of any player at any position in the Draft
Nerlens Noel – 6-11, 206 – Born: April 10, 1994 – (Everett, MA) – College: Kentucky -– tore ACL chasing down a blocked shot against Florida; has just a 24-game body of work at Kentucky; more explosive leaper and better on-ball shot-blocker than last year’s No. 1 overall, Anthony Davis; potential defensive enforcer at NBA level; measured 7-4 wingspan; not muscular but wiry strong; will need to add weight to 6-11, 206-pound frame; runs the floor like a guard; good character with a strong work ethic; very quick hands (averaged 2.1 steals); despite thin frame, very good rebounder (9.5 rpg) willing to bang inside; surprisingly good passer for a big man; concern that he may never grow into an effective offensive player; solid feel for the game; lack of instincts offensively in the post; poor free throw shooter (53 percent); might not be fully recovered from ACL surgery until December
Kelly Olynyk –7-0, 234 – Born: April 19, 1991 – (Kamloops, BC) – College: Gonzaga -– consensus All-America in final year at Gonzaga; can score with back to the basket or on the perimeter; very good natural athlete, was a high school quarterback; led Zags to top seed in the NCAA Tournament; late bloomer who may not have hit his ceiling yet; polished offensive skill-set – shot 66 percent from the floor as a junior; excellent shooter with nice range – shot 82 percent from the stripe; not a three-point threat, but could add that to his game; got noticeably stronger, especially in his upper body, between sophomore and junior seasons; doesn’t have a go-to-move in the post; not great foot speed and thought of as a “finesse” center; good footwork and quick, reliable hands; one of the older players in this Draft class; scouts were encouraged by steady improvement throughout three-year college career