(There were at least 100 better pictures available of Nerlens Noel on the internet. This one had John Robic’s hair in it as well, though)
Yesterday we learned that Draft Express was projecting a slew of lottery picks from this year’s Kentucky basketball team. Nerlens Noel was projected behind Shabazz Muhammad as the #2 overall pick. Sports Illustrated’s NBA Draft analyst Chris Mannix sees it a bit differently though. Mannix’s prediction is fueled by comments he has heard from NBA executives. Mannix has Nerlens Noel as the #1 pick on his NBA Draft Big Board.
“Noel hasn’t done much to separate himself this season– he has failed to crack double figures in scoring in four of his last five games– but NBA executives have been unwavering in their belief that the Kentucky freshman is the No. 1 pick. “He’s not a guy you plug in right away and expect to carry you,” said a Western Conference executive. “But he has a motor, and with bigs the hardest thing to find is a motor. Darko Milicic was one of the most talented big men you ever saw, but he didn’t have a motor. It might take (Noel) some time but so what? It took Jermaine O’Neal five years to get established.”
Alex Poythress checked in at #8 on Mannix’s list, followed closely by Archie Goodwin in the #10 slot. Mannix said that Poythress “continues to show flashes of brilliance , but consistency has been a problem.”
“Goodwin’s athleticism continues to impress NBA scouts. “Pound for pound, his athletic ability is as good as anyone in the NBA right now,” said a Western Conference personnel scout. “When he gets stronger, watch out. He’s really impressive.”