The NBA All-Star game hasn't been played, we're two weeks from March Madness and four months from the NBA Championship. This seems like a perfect time to weigh the NBA draft potential of college players.
The player whose draft stock is in flux right now is Kentucky's Nerlens Noel. He was projected as a No. 1 pick, but after going down with a torn ACL injury, Seth Davis asks draft expert Jonathan Givony of Draftexpress.com if that will change.
“I don't know,” Givony said. “Not every ACL tear is the same. We saw Brandon Dawson get hurt and come back six months later. We saw Derrick Rose get hurt. Ten months later he still hasn't stepped on an NBA floor. Until [Noel] has his surgery two to three weeks from now, [we won't] have a better idea of the extent of the ACL tear.”
Kansas' Ben McLemore, the current No. 2 projected draft pick on Draftexpress.com, should be paying close attention to Noel's recovery because it could determine his future. If Noel doesn't go first, McLemore could get bumped up to No. 1. However, Givony doesn't think that would be best for the Jayhawks shooting guard.
“I'm not sure that's in his DNA to step into a team and be the best player, to be the face of an NBA franchise,” Givony said. “He is very, very skilled, though. He's a terrific athlete and a great shooter, but I think he's better off as a second or third option.”
McLemore's No. 1 selection wouldn't be a shocker just because of Noel's unfortunate circumstances but also because it will be the first time in a long time that a shooting guard has gone No. 1 in the NBA draft.
In the last 10 years, point guards, centers or power forwards have been selected No. 1.
Without knowledge of the full extent of Noel's injury, here are the CBSSports.com top 5 picks as of Friday.
1. Nerlens Noel, Kentucky
2. Ben McLemore, Kansas
Will Noel stay at No. 1 or will McLemore move up? Make your voice heard in the comment section below or on Twitter @Hoopsoncbs. And don't forget to watch Courtside with Seth Davis on CBS Sports Network, Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. ET. You can also follow Adena Andrews on Twitter @adena_andrews.