January 30, 2013
ESPN NBA Draft analyst Chad Ford dished on Nerlens Noel and the other UK freshmen in his chat today. The highlights:
He said the Cleveland Cavaliers would "probably" take Noel No. 1 if they landed the pick, with Shabazz Muhammad and Alex Len also in play.
Asked about his thoughts on Noel's 12-block performance against Ole Miss:
"Maybe the best 2 point performance I've ever seen. Those 12 blocks were ridiculous. It was like he was a NBA player against a high school JV team. Noel has 32 blocks in his last 4 games! He's averaging 8 bpg in his last four in the SEC. That's crazy. He's currently on pace to record more block than Anthony Davis did as a freshman. I know he's been seen as a disappointment by many ... but to me he's played exactly as advertised -- elite defender, raw offensively. I know we obsess about offense when talking about draft prospects, but NBA scouts and teams care equally about defense and Noel has the potential to be a contender for Defensive Player of the Year someday in the NBA. That alone makes him worthy of being considered for the No. 1 pick in this draft."
Asked what percent chance he would give for each of the UK freshmen to enter the NBA Draft:
"Tough to say. All three have NBA talent and it's a weak draft -- meaning all three could be lottery picks. The issue is that Goodwin, Poythress and Cauley-Stein probably aren't ready. Goodwin needs to add a three pointer to his repertoire (he's 1-for-17 from three in his last 8 games), Poythress is still figuring out what he is offensively and needs to get more consistent, Cauley-Stein has the potential to be a Top 5 pick next year if he stays. I'm not sure any of them will stay with Calipari's elite incoming freshman class, but if those three did, I think they could all help both their draft stock and their NBA careers."