Skip to content

Kentucky’s Nerlens Noel declares for draft, could go No. 1

Apr 15, 2013, 11:34 AM EDT

Marshall v Kentucky Getty Images

We didn’t get to see Nerlens Noel in the NCAA Tournament because: 1) Kentucky sucked this year and didn’t make it (they were bounced in the first round of the NIT); 2) He had already blown out his ACL and was done for the season.

Yet he shows enough potential, and this is a down enough draft year, he could still go No. 1 overall. DraftExpress and other draft watchers currently have him there.

So it’s no shock that he announced Monday he would declare for the NBA draft.

“I have loved my time at Kentucky, but I feel that I’m ready to take the next step to the NBA,” Noel said in a released statement. “I’ve learned so much here at UK and am thankful for Coach (John) Calipari, the staff and my teammates for all of their support. I especially appreciate the Big Blue Nation and all of the support, prayers and well-wishes I’ve received from them during my rehab and decision-making process.”

Noel averaged 10.5 points and 9.5 rebounds per game, plus he led the SEC in blocked shots. Why he goes No. 1 is that he is a physical specimen with a lot of potential — he measured 6’10” without shoes, has a 7’4” wing span and runs the floor like a gazelle. He can be an impact defender early on in his career.

The drawback is he needs to get a lot stronger and needs to get a lot more polished on offense. His footwork is not going to remind you of Tim Duncan. He’s okay near the basket but has no midrange game.

Then there is the knee surgery in February — he tore his ACL on a chase-down block. He’s still going to be on the comeback trail as the season starts.

But you don’t draft a guy for what he can do his rookie year, you draft him for what he can do three years from now.

In a draft where there is not believed to be a franchise player, no lock No. 1, a draft where you gamble a little with the top pick, wouldn’t you gamble on a very athletic big man? Most likely a team will in the top spot.

Latest Posts
  1. Report: Kobe Bryant already vacationing in France as Lakers end ugly season

    Apr 16, 2014, 4:29 PM EDT

    Kobe Bryant

    While the Lakers end their dreary season Kobe Bryant is already on vacation.

  2. Blake Griffin would vote yes on NBA allowing medical marijuana use

    Apr 16, 2014, 3:46 PM EDT

    Blake Griffin AP

    Clippers forward: ‘It doesn’t really affect me, but so many guys would probably benefit’

  3. Mavericks, Grizzlies both motivated to win Wednesday, avoid Spurs in first round

    Apr 16, 2014, 2:49 PM EDT

    Memphis Grizzlies v San Antonio Spurs - Game One Getty Images

    The Spurs have crushed the Grizzlies and Mavericks this season, so those teams are motivated to avoid a trip to the Riverwalk to start the postseason.

  4. 2014 PBT Awards: All-Rookie team

    Apr 16, 2014, 2:14 PM EDT

    Tim Hardaway, Mason Plumlee Tim Hardaway, Mason Plumlee

    First team nearly a clean sweep, but one top teamer didn’t even make other two ballots

  5. Report: Sale of Milwaukee Bucks for record $550 million agreed upon, team to stay in Milwaukee

    Apr 16, 2014, 12:57 PM EDT

    Image (1) Bucks_logo-thumb-250x346-20140.gif for post 4121

    New York based hedge fund billionaires Marc Lasry and Wes Edens are buying the team but keeping it in Wisconsin, they just need to get a new arena built.

  6. Tyson Chandler: ‘I’m not into wasting seasons’

    Apr 16, 2014, 12:22 PM EDT

    Jimmy Butler, Tyson Chandler Jimmy Butler, Tyson Chandler

    Knicks center knows, though, he might have no choice

  7. Shaq smashes Brent Barry’s guitar ala Animal House (VIDEO)

    Apr 16, 2014, 11:46 AM EDT

    Shaquille O'Neal AP

    You can’t do enough Animal House references to make me happy.

  8. Clippers and Raptors clinch best records in franchise history, Spurs next?

    Apr 16, 2014, 9:55 AM EDT

    Blake Griffin, Jonas Valanciunas Blake Griffin, Jonas Valanciunas

    How many years feature three of the best records in a franchise’s history?

  9. Chicago Bulls creating offseason trade options with latest signings (updated)

    Apr 16, 2014, 9:22 AM EDT

    Atlanta Hawks v Chicago Bulls Atlanta Hawks v Chicago Bulls

    Bulls give Greg Smith, Ronnie Brewer, Lou Amnundson and Mike James multi-year contracts

  10. Playoff Chase: Seven meaningful games on final night of NBA season

    Apr 16, 2014, 8:45 AM EDT

    Zach Randolph, Dirk Nowitzki Zach Randolph, Dirk Nowitzki

    Nothing like waiting until the last minute to figure things out.

  11. 2014 PBT Awards: Most Improved Player

    Apr 16, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT

    Goran Dragic, Anthony Davis Goran Dragic, Anthony Davis

    Nine combined spots on the ballot go to eight different players, and none of our winners made the other two’s top three

  12. Tuesday NBA grades: Chris Paul looks playoff ready

    Apr 16, 2014, 2:42 AM EDT

    Denver Nuggets v Los Angeles Clippers Getty Images

    Chris Paul and J.J. Redick look good as Clippers ready for playoffs.

  13. Chris Paul puts Evan Fournier in spin cycle (VIDEO)

    Apr 16, 2014, 12:40 AM EDT

    Los Angeles Clippers v Houston Rockets Getty Images

    Poor Evan Fournier is on the wrong end of a highlight that’s going to get shown a lot for a few days. At least.

  14. Iman Shumpert drops Paul Pierce with the crossover (VIDEO)

    Apr 15, 2014, 11:46 PM EDT

    Miami Heat v New York Knicks Getty Images

    Video of one player executing a crossover that drops another player to the floor — you know you’re watching.

Featured video

Woodson, D'Antoni's coaching futures
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. D. Williams (4542)
  2. D. Wade (4368)
  3. K. Love (4246)
  4. L. James (3798)
  5. S. Curry (3628)
  1. G. Dragic (3566)
  2. C. Anthony (3516)
  3. D. Howard (3450)
  4. R. Rondo (3312)
  5. D. Lee (3173)