Originally Posted by RedBlackAttack
You asked for it... Wall of text incoming!
For me, the pick is an absolute no-brainer, assuming his medical situation has checked out, which seems to be the case...
I think Nerlens Noel is easily the best prospect in this class and I will be incredibly disappointed if he's not the pick. I've put in way too much research to this topic for something I'm not being paid for... Watched tape, studied interviews, gone over analytics, etc.
Not only do I think he's the best prospect in this class, I think he is a legitimate No. 1 pick in the grand scheme. I don't buy into this draft being as weak at the top as has been widely reported.
Truth is, from the tape I've seen and the analytics, Noel rates very high in ANY draft of the last decade. You just don't find guys with that kind of length and that kind of athleticism often. And, he just turned 19.
As much as Grant is said to rely on those advanced metrics, it is hard for me to imagine Noel hasn't been the pick all along. Let's put it like this... Kevin Pelton, who developed the WARP Rating System explained that Noel is one of the highest rated prospects in his entire database and he's been doing it for many years. He isn't alone... James Brocato his given him the third highest score out of the last four drafts. The only guys who had higher scores were Kyrie Irving and Anthony Davis, and he isn't far behind those guys. Across the board, he has stellar advanced stats.
I think the trepidation, aside from the injury, is just a general apprehension people have toward defensively-minded players. For instance, as awesome as Kyrie Irving's offensive skillset was coming out of college, his defense was almost as bad as his offense was good. He wasn't called an "offensive specialist" or really even questioned as the top pick because of his defense. There were a lot of voices saying the Cavs should go the Derrick Williams/Brandon Knight route, but it had nothing to do with his defensive capabilities or lack thereof.
But, now we have the chance to grab the best rim protecting prospect to come out in a long, long time and everyone is focusing on what he can't do yet offensively. Not only is he an incredible shot-blocker (5 blocks per 38 at UK), he was second in the SEC in steals (2.1 per game) as an 18-year-old center. This guy has defensive beast written all over him.
To me, his abilities on defense should be viewed with the same intrigue that we had with Kyrie's offense. People need to stop focusing on what he can't do and start looking at what he can do. He's an absolute elite shot-blocker/turnover creater, an uber-athlete who can run the floor like a guard, potentially elite level rebounder, he was the best finisher in college basketball last year around the rim, because he can initiate, gather and/or finish with either hand (Len is strictly a right-handed player at this stage), he shows flashes of a tremendous isolation/face-up game.
And, the guy I would have No. 2 on my board is not Alex Len or Ben McLemore or Victor Oladipo... It's Otto Porter Jr., who almost no one is talking about with the top pick.