Seen as the expected No. 1 pick in the 2013 NBA draft, Kentucky center Nerlens Noel is hobbled with a torn ACL and doesn't have much meat on his bones, so it's only natural that other options start asserting themselves as candidates to go first overall. Ben McLemore was a recent challenger to Noel's perch above the rest of the draft class, but now it's Alex Len's turn to steal the spotlight. According to Hoopsworld's Steve Kyler, the Cavs want a player who can compete right away, and that's deterring them from settling on the flat-topped Kentucky big man. Meanwhile, Len has become increasingly vocal about his ability to make a name for himself in the NBA. As relayed by The News-Herald's Bob Finnan, the Maryland product believes that he'll be the best player in this draft 10 years down the road. Okay. Fine. I don't particularly agree with Len's long-term assessment of himself, especially as he also compares his game to Zydrunas Ilgauskas', but that's irrelevant at the moment. Something about this just doesn't add up. The Cavs want a player who can help them advance to the postseason for the first time in the post-LeBron James era, and Len is going to be great in a decade. According to himself. Those don't exactly sync up, seeing as the next postseason takes place in 2014, not 2023. Len is indeed a prospect with upside in the future, but he's not ready to be a difference-maker during his rookie season. He still needs to improve his defense and rebounding while developing more offensive consistency. There's absolutely no chance that Len can supplant Anderson Varejao in the Cleveland starting five, so why not just draft upside here? Noel's frame indicates that he'll fill out and weigh significantly more than 206 pounds during his NBA prime, and he already has one elite skill: his knack for protecting the rim. Even though he's coming off knee surgery, he's a safer pick than Len simply because he's going to be—at worst—a valuable starter down the road. Len could end up being a similar player to Robin Lopez, a center who's worth having in the rotation but shouldn't really be a starter on any competitive team.
Will Alex Len Usurp Nerlens Noel as No. 1 Pick in 2013 NBA Draft?
Bleacher Report | Jun 13