For months the assumption has been that Kentucky center Nerlens Noel would be the No. 1 pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. When the Cleveland Cavaliers won the lottery, that assumption was further solidified, given the team’s need of another post presence. But as we creep towards Thursday night’s draft, it has become apparent that the Cavs are exploring other options with the top pick, and now there may be a new favorite.
Several reports have now indicated that Maryland’s Alex Len has leaped over Noel on Cleveland’s board and is the likely choice for the No. 1 pick in the draft. Len, whom most fans had never heard of before the draft evaluation process began, is a 7-foot-1 center from the Ukraine who is skilled and an exceptional athlete for his size.
Len comes with some serious question marks though. He desperately needs to add more strength to his 255-pound frame, can be passive on both ends of the floor and never really put up great numbers in college. During his sophomore season at Maryland, Len averaged 11.9 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.1 blocks in 26.4 minutes per game. He shot 53.4 percent from the field and 68.6 percent from the free throw line.
But he is definitely a skilled, high-upside big man who could be a stud with the right development. He already has a solid perimeter game, is a great passer out of the post, has excellent touch around the basket, and with his 7,-4 wingspan, Len is also a very good shot-blocker and rebounder.
Len turned 20 on June 16, so he still has some filling out to do, but if everything hits he could be an absolute stud. The problem is, he’s definitely a high-risk, high-reward pick.
But sources have suggested to us that Len would be a better fit with the Cavs and budding star point guard Kyrie Irving than Noel.