NBA Draft: GM says no one worthy of No. 1 pick this year

By Jeff Goodman | College Basketball Insider

Usually, NBA general managers are filled with nerves entering the annual NBA draft lottery. That may be the case for a different reason on Tuesday night.

"I'm not sure I want the No. 1 pick," said one NBA general manager.

Another looked frightened at the thought of having to draft someone first this year.

"There's really no one worthy of the top pick," he said. "But someone has to go number one."

That someone will likely be Nerlens Noel, the 6-foot-11 3/4 shot-blocker from Kentucky who is recovering from a torn ACL suffered in February. However, there's still a shot Kansas' Ben McLemore could be the first shooting guard taken with the top pick since David Thompson in 1975 -- depending on which team gets the No. 1 pick.

• Everyone knew Shane Larkin was fast, and he proved that by winning the sprint over guys like Peyton Siva at the pre-draft combine in Chicago. However, Larkin also beat out freak athlete Victor Oladipo with a 44-inch vertical -- and also showed his strength by finishing second to Siva in the bench press among the point guards. This should all help the 5-foot-11 1/2 Larkin's case to be the third floor leader selected after Trey Burke and Michael Carter-Williams.

• No one was hurt more in the measurements and testing than Gonzaga's Kelly Olynyk. He is 6-foot-10 and 3/4 without shoes, but he has a wingspan of just 6-9 3/4. For a comparison, Nerlens Noel was actually shorter at 6-foot-10, but has a 7-3 3/4 wingspan.

• Cody Zeller also has short arms. He's 6-foot-10 3/4 without shoes, but has an identical wingspan. However, he helped himself with the top standing vertical (35 1/2) and also with his speed, finishing sixth overall in the sprint.

• Phil Pressey checked in at 5-foot-9 1/2 without shoes and 5-foot-11 1/2 with shoes -- and said it's all because of the LeBron sneakers he was wearing at the time. Others who gained two inches -- Seth Curry (6-3 with shoes), Ryan Kelly (6-11 1/2) and Deshaun Thomas (6-7).

• Noel weighed just 206 pounds, but he should be able to easily get up to 220 pounds without losing any quickness or mobility. Remember, he's still only 19 years old.

• Only three players had a body fat percentage of more than 10 percent: Ryan Kelly (14.8), Ricky Ledo (10.3) and Grant Jerrett (10.1). Kelly has an excuse, missing much of the season due to foot injury.

• Don't read much into which teams interviewed which players out in Chicago. Many teams lined up guys they know won't come in for actual workouts over the next few weeks. For instance, Boston -- picking No. 16 -- interviewed Victor Oladipo, who is expected to go before the Celtics pick. Danny Ainge and his staff also brought in Noel, who is expected to go either first or second overall.

• The power forward group at the combine was hardly overwhelming. In fact, one NBA general manager said there might not have been a first-round selection in the entire group. One guy who should have come back to school is Colorado's Andre Roberson, who is too thin (205 pounds) to play power forward and not skilled enough to play small forward.

• South Dakota State's Nate Wolters sat out Friday due to a hip flexor. He said he woke up Friday morning and was in discomfort, and the doctor told him to be cautious and sit out in hopes of being healthy for his scheduled workouts this coming week.

• Ledo helped himself in Chicago, but GMs are still proceeding with caution. "Is he worth his issues?" one asked me. He's 6-foot-6, nearly 200 pounds and can score, but there are numerous red flags that could stand in the way of him being selected in the first round.

• Another player who likely helped himself was Bucknell's big man Mike Muscala. He measured at 6-foot-11 1/2 and 230 pounds, showed the skill and also strength to battle the other centers in the group. Muscala could slip into the first round, which would mean two Patriot League guys (also C.J. McCollum) would be selected in the first round.

• Another baffling decision is that of former Arkansas guard B.J. Young. He's not a point guard, and doesn't shoot it well enough to be a two-guard. Young should have returned to school.

 
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