Viewed as the favorite to be taken with the No. 1 pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, University of Kentucky standout Nerlens Noel will likely join New Orleans Pelican Anthony Davis as the first back-to-back No. 1 draft picks from the same university since Dick Ricketts and Si Green were taken first overall in the 1955 and 1956 NBA drafts out of Duquesne University. Strangely enough, Davis and Noel were never teammates as each of them declared for the draft following their freshman year. Noel, much like Davis, is considered a shot-blocking phenom and possesses plenty of upside for scouts and draft experts to get excited about.
Things the Draft Experts Like:
ESPN.com: “NBA General Managers have been impressed with his work ethic and improvement under John Calipari at Kentucky… They believe he’ll continue to improve his game and become a potential defensive player of the year… He’s a dominant shot-blocker and rebounder… He runs the floor like a guard and he has a great motor… He’s an explosive athlete and knows how to defend without fouling, while being an adept passer out of the post.”
NBADraft.net: “One of the best pure shot blockers to come along in a number of years. An elite level athlete with great quickness and explosive leaping ability… Great length with a reported 7’4” wingspan… Strong rebounder due to willingness to bang inside and good hands… Shows the ability to face up and get by defenders using the dribble.”
DraftExpress.com: “Runs the floor like a guard, is extremely nimble, and has pogo stick leaping ability… With his terrific height, long arms, and tremendous explosiveness, he shows great potential as a pick and roll finisher, capable of finishing emphatically from extremely difficult angles… Shows willingness and ability to use either hand equally well inside the paint… Possesses an extremely quick first step driving to his left, allowing him to be isolated against slower big men from 15 to 17 feet away and draw fouls… Possesses exceptional combination of size, length, mobility, explosiveness and timing, allowing him to shut down the paint.”
Draft Expert Concerns:
ESPN.com: “Still very raw offensively, has no perimeter game and very few low-post moves… Not aggressive in looking for his shot and he’s pretty thin… Can he build the bulk necessary to play the 5 in the NBA?”
DraftExpress.com: “Fairly limited offensive player, both in terms of instincts and production… Lacks great balance and doesn’t possess much in the way of footwork or counter moves… struggles to establish good post-position… Doesn’t show very good touch… Didn’t show any real semblance of a jump shot in his time at Kentucky.”
NBADraft.Net: “Offensively, general perception is that he will never be a strong offensive player… Won’t be able to ‘out-athleticize’ opponents for baskets at the next level… Post game is very weak and has a lack of post moves/instincts… Lacks touch even around the rim and footwork needs a good deal of improvement… Shooting ability is a major weakness… Legs are alarmingly thin and narrow shoulders will challenge his ability to bulk up considerably.”
While he missed them by one season at the University of Kentucky, Noel played for the Wildcats under head coach John Calipari, who joined current New Orleans Pelicans Anthony Davis and Darius Miller in winning the 2012 NCAA title.