When Nerlens Noel went down in Florida the collective hearts of the Big Blue Nation shattered. Yes, the basketball season was basically done at that point but the real tragedy was the impact on Noel’s future. Nerlens was well on his way to being the number one pick and as he laid crumpled on the floor you could just see millions of dollars seemingly going up in smoke beside him. But is that really the case?
The NCAA tournament often brings guys out from irrelevancy and into the NBA draft spotlight. However it can also demonstrate that some guys just aren’t able to compete when they go up against the best of the best. Top guys like Shabazz Muhammed, Anthony Bennett, and Otto Porter Jr are now doing the same thing as Nerlens which is watching the tournament unfold from the couch. With Nerlens unable to play or workout at the combine he will be drafted simply on potential and the achievements he had accomplished prior to going down.
Over on draftexpress.com Nerlens is still listed as the top pick and the top prospect despite the torn ACL. After averaging 10 points, 9 boards and 4 blocks there’s a good reason why. So for the third time in four years could Kentucky once again deliver the top pick in the NBA draft? It’s still to early to say without knowing the draft order and how other Centers like Cody Zeller finish the year. I for one hope to hear Noel’s name called first when the draft goes down this summer. A player like Nerlens has earned that honor.