NBA Draft Scouting Report: Nerlens Noel

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Noel blocks one of many shots in the SEC. (SI.com)

By Chris Molicki

The NBA Draft is still over a month away, but it’s never too early to start looking. With only five teams left in the playoffs, many fans will be looking towards the draft, and we’ll bring you scouting reports on all of the players in the coming weeks.

Nerlens Noel, PF/C, Kentucky

Why you want him: Noel’s biggest asset is his defense. He’s a premier shot blocker, averaging 4.4 blocks per game a Kentucky, and his ability to protect the rim is invaluable. Noel is extremely athletic and a sound finisher at the basket who can also run the floor very well for a big man. He’s got potential to grow as a player, as he’s only scratched the surface of his potential.

Why you don’t want him: Unlike last year’s top overall pick and fellow Wildcat Anthony Davis, Noel’s offensive game is very limited and may never develop to a respectable level. In addition, the torn ACL raises at least a minor red flag.

Where he’ll be picked: Top 2. I’m still not sold on Noel as the undisputed top pick overall because I still don’t believe a big man with no offensive game is worthy of that. Noel isn’t the kind of player a team can be built around, and at best, he’ll be the third best player on a playoff team in his prime. However, his defensive ability is coveted, making him a lock at the top 2 in a weak draft.

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