What would Nerlens Noel bring to the Pistons?
Shinons*: How would you like to have the most exciting team in the league? One that leads the league annually in blocks, steals, and rebounds? One that features a potentially historically good defense? Even better than the Bad Boys or Going to Work eras? That's how highly I think of Noel.
This guy put up a combined 6.5 blocks and steals. He is the best defensive playmaking prospect I'm aware of. Davis last year had 6.1. Before these two, the next best that I can think of was Jarvis Varnado, who put up 5.4 his senior year. This number, 6.5, it's unbelievable.
Mike Payne: A defensive force in the paint, a shot blocker of the purest form in a very wiry, fragile frame. Think Marcus Camby in the best case, Hasheem Thabeet without the resume in the worst case.
Sean Corp: An elite shotblocker, rebounder and defender. The best big man trio in the NBA. The best player in the 2013 NBA Draft. The ability to completely take away the paint from the opposing team. A high top fade that puts Iman Shumpert to shame.
Kevin Sawyer: Defense. Lot's of it. Noel's defensive numbers are off the charts against top tier competition. He easily led prospects in block rate, and is top three in terms of steals. And he did it without fouling at a particularly high rate. He has the potential to be a once-in-a-decade defensive talent. Those only come along once per decade!
Biggest Red Flag?
Mike Payne: The ACL injury doesn't help. His frame doesn't either-- he makes Anthony Davis look like DeJuan Blair.
Shinons*: Certainly, it's his ACL tear. He'll almost certainly be out past the All Star break, and it's always a risk any time you draft a player who's injured. Will he be back with the same explosiveness? I certainly think so, but it's definitely the biggest red flag that he comes with.
One might suggest that the potential of three big men worthy of max contracts would be the biggest. I think three franchise players would be a great problem to have.
Sean Corp: Dude tore his ACL. For a player that relies so much on their athletic ability anything that might rob him of that is a concern.
Kevin Sawyer: I think people are underestimating the knee issue. He's slated to miss much of next season recovering. From there, he'll still be on the rookie learning curve. Worse, it often happens that players who suffer injuries to one knee suffer a similar injury to the other. Say the other ACL goes his second season. A team might be investing four seasons in him, only to have another team clear cap room and swoop in with a huge offer.
There is also the curious lack of rebounding. He wasn't terrible, but his rebounding rate is on par with potential stiff Alex Len. That attribute can develop slowly in freshmen, however, and his athletic numbers and measurements indicate it's a matter if when, not if, he can dominate on the glass.
On a scale of 1/10, how would you feel about Nerlens Noel joining the roster?
Mike Payne: 5/10. Obviously, he has a pretty remarkable talent. However, he doesn't fill a need in Detroit, he's already torn his ACL and it may take several years before he has the mass to man the NBA five. If Detroit didn't have Andre Drummond, he'd be a lot more attractive.
Shinons*: An enthusiastic 10. I'm hoping like crazy that he's the guy who inexplicably falls this year, that teams scare themselves away over nonsense like the lack of pre-draft workouts or not getting the summer league. Noel can establish an identity for the Pistons as an elite defensive team with the best young frontcourt in the league. It's extremely unlikely to happen, but that's not going to stop me from getting excited over the thought.
Sean Corp: 6/10. I almost placed this in the red flag section but it fits here too. If you draft Noel could you ever confidently stick Andre Drummond and Noel on the court together at the same time? Neither has a jump shot or much of an offensive game other than being able to finish at the rim. The defenders of both players would just collapse toward the basket and take away the driving ability of both. That being said, Noel is a difference maker on defense and on the glass and the Pistons need a defensive minded big man to join their rotation.
Kevin Sawyer: 8. He doesn't fit a need, and the knee injury is of particular concern to the Pistons, who have the chance to make a real leap toward contention this year. For those reasons, he drops to 4th or 5th on my wish list. Still, if he's the guy who drops on draft night, it would be silly not to take a chance on him.
Now, your thoughts.