Nerlens Noel is recovering from a knee injury, but expects to be ready to play by Christmas. (John Sommers/Icon SMI)
In examining Nerlens Noel, the NBA draft pick, you have to discuss two major components: Noel, the long-term prospect, and Noel, the ’14 draft aid.
Noel the prospect comes with plenty of questions, even as he still appears to be the front-runner for the No. 1 overall pick. He was an extraordinarily prolific shot-blocker in his two-thirds of a season at Kentucky before an ACL tear ended his campaign in mid-February. Per Synergy Sports Technology, Noel was also an outstanding post defender at the college level, holding foes to 30 percent shooting and a total of 40 points on 79 post-up attempts. Noel was the major reason an erratic Kentucky team was looking like it would still make the NCAA tournament before his injury derailed the team’s season, too.