2013 NBA Draft Prospect Profile: Kentucky's Nerlens Noel

Nerlens outchea flexing - Andy Lyons

With next month's NBA Draft coming up, let's take a look at potential top three overall selection Nerlens Noel of Kentucky.

Hey guys. The name's Tyler R. Tynes (@RealTylerTynes), but some call me Ricky, so do so at your leisure. I'm the newest member of the staff here at RidiculousUpside.com. In the weeks to come leading up to next month's NBA Draft, I'll be doing profiles on players to watch before the big day. So without further adieu, let's get started.

Nerlens Noel--Bringing the flat top back to college basketball since 2012.

Believe it or not, Noel has the talent to be an elite defender in the NBA. He also posts tremendous athleticism, length, quickness, a terrific first step and he's incredibly difficult to shoot over due to his wingspan. The forward has developed into a very gifted defender.

NBA Comparison: Larry Sanders

Strengths

  • Athleticism, explosive leaper, good frame at 6-foot-11
  • Best pure shot blocker in years to come through the draft
  • Length; 7-foot-4 wingspan, Standing reach: 9-foot-1
  • All around defense: 2.1 steals per game, 4.4 blocks per game, 6.8 defensive rebounds
  • Potential to develop offensively in the low post
  • Great offensive rebounder at 2.7 a game, willing to bang in the post and finish around the rim with emphatic putback dunks and layups
  • Doesn't turn the ball over much, boasts a 1/1 assist-to-turnover ratio
  • Great foot speed, can get by average defenders at will

Weaknesses

  • Offensive game is very limited, has developed a small hook shot, still ineffective in the low post
  • Might not be able to use his athleticism to get by defenders in the NBA
  • Has to have strong guard play to truly be effective at the next level, scores mainly off putbacks and dunks on clear paths towards the rim
  • Post game is weak, tries to face-up on players in the high post and use ballhandling skills to breeze by defenders. Doesn't embrace a "back to the basket" mentality
  • Lacks a soft touch around the rim
  • Needs to improve his footwork to make it "elite"
  • Poor shooting form, lacks a fluid shooting motion, just pushed the ball forward
  • Lacking a strong frame, only 216 lbs at 6-foot-11, very lanky, calfs are extremely thin for an NBA player
  • Obvious concern over knee injuries following a torn ACL
  • Needs to bulk up
  • Horrible free throw shooter. Averaged 53 percent during his freshman season.

Draft Projection: 1st Round, Pick #1 to the Orlando Magic-to- #3 Cleveland Cavaliers

Even though Noel is lacking many pieces offensively, his defensive skills, athleticism, and wingspan (not to mention, his willingness to learn his position) make him a vital piece to any team lacking players in the frontcourt. The only glaring issues with Noel is his lack of a jumper and his continuing recovery from his ACL tear.

At the end of the day, he can be a vital asset to any team whether on the floor or coming off the bench and playing good minutes within a squad's rotation. Last but not least, who wouldn't want that flat top in the NBA?

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