Everyone in the national media is heaping praise on Nerlens Noel right, with very good reason. Nerlens showed the nation what Kentucky fans have quickly come to realize: he’s one of, if not the best defender in the country right now. Andy Kennedy called Nerlens’ play the difference in the game, despite him only scoring two points, something that ESPN NBA Insider Chad Ford may lead to him being the number one pick in this year’s draft:
On Nerlens’ performance last night:
Maybe the best 2 point performance I’ve ever seen. Those 12 blocks were ridiculous. It was like he was a NBA player against a high school JV team. Noel has 32 blocks in his last 4 games! He’s averaging 8 bpg in his last four in the SEC. That’s crazy. He’s currently on pace to record more block than Anthony Davis did as a freshman. I know he’s been seen as a disappointment by many … but to me he’s played exactly as advertised — elite defender, raw offensively. I know we obsess about offense when talking about draft prospects, but NBA scouts and teams care equally about defense and Noel has the potential to be a contender for Defensive Player of the Year someday in the NBA. That alone makes him worthy of being considered for the No. 1 pick in this draft.
Predictably, Nerlens sits atop Ford’s NBA Big Board for yet another week, and Ford says the Cavaliers would probably take him first in the draft if they get the number one pick. What about the other Cats? Ford says that while Archie Goodwin, Alex Poythress, and Willie Cauley-Stein aren’t ready, because of the weak draft, they could end up being lottery picks. Here’s what Ford says each needs to improve their stock:
The issue is that Goodwin, Poythress and Cauley-Stein probably aren’t ready. Goodwin needs to add a three pointer to his repertoire (he’s 1-for-17 from three in his last 8 games), Poythress is still figuring out what he is offensively and needs to get more consistent, Cauley-Stein has the potential to be a Top 5 pick next year if he stays. I’m not sure any of them will stay with Calipari’s elite incoming freshman class, but if those three did, I think they could all help both their draft stock and their NBA careers.
It hurts to think of the players’ NBA stock after such an exciting win, but the inevitabilities do loom on the horizon. Aside from Nerlens, whom we need to cherish while we can, who will go and who will stay?
[powered by WordPress.]
Bill Keightley Report : Never to be forgotten.
9 queries. 0.407 seconds