I remember everyone was bashing Orlando for taking Dwight over Okafor. Noel may not have the pedigree right now, but I don't think there's any question he has the highest upside in this draft. He very well could be a bust, but it's hard to fault a GM for rolling the dice.
And I get it, Tyrus Thomas was athletic, but I think it's his willingness/ability to use both hands in the paint which to me (at the age of 19), makes Nerlens a Top 5 pick in any draft, let alone a weak one like this.Any discussion about Noel's potential as a NBA prospect should start with his phenomenal physical attributes. Measured at 6-10 without shoes, with a 7-4 wingspan and exceptional athletic ability, Noel is a rare specimen. He runs the floor like a guard, is extremely nimble and quick, and has pogo stick leaping ability. This allows him to cover ground unbelievably well both vertically and horizontally, which helps him impact the game in numerous ways. It's safe to say that, should he make a full recovery from his injury as expected, he'll be one of the most athletic big men in the NBA.
When freed from the burdens of having to create his own offense, Noel absolutely shines. With his terrific height, long arms, and tremendous explosiveness, he's one of the best finishers in college basketball, converting an outstanding 64% of his attempts around the rim in the half-court. He shows great potential as a pick and roll finisher, being capable of finishing emphatically from extremely difficult angles and vantage points thanks to his long arms and how high he gets up in the air.
Interestingly enough, while not overly polished, Noel shows the willingness, and at times the ability, to use either hand equally well inside the paint, something that's fairly rare for an 18-year old big man. This is definitely something he can build on as he gets stronger and his touch around the rim hopefully improves.