Lucas Nogueira
Center (Rank: #28) | 7-0, 220 | Age: 22
Brazil (Sao Goncalo, Brazil)
Draft Board: Round 1 | Round 2
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Draft Projection: No. 17: Atlanta Hawks

Notes: Insider Only

Positives: Insider Only

Negatives: Insider Only

Summary: June 26 Update: "Bebe," as he's called, is sort of a poor man's Noel. Long (a 7-foot-6 wingspan), athletic and at times frenetic, he has enormous potential as a shot-blocker. However, unlike Noel, he doesn't have the discipline or constant motor. But he's maturing, and with time he just might get there.

Quick fact: Nogueira averaged 1.7 offensive rebounds per game while playing a little more than 13 minutes per game, and he was in the 90th percentile in points per play off putbacks in all of Europe (min. 40 plays).

June 25 Update: Not much has changed here since the last mock. If C.J. McCollum, Trey Burke or Michael Carter-Williams (probably in that order) are on the board, the Jazz go point guard. If they're gone? The team isn't in love with any of the point guards left. They also need bigs (both Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap are free agents this summer) and it looks as if they're open to using the draft to help address that need. Nogueira isn't the only guy they'll look at here. Kelly Olynyk and Mason Plumlee also have a shot. But I think Nogueira is the most intriguing of the group.

June 24 Update: Nogueira is sort of a poor man's Nerlens Noel -- a long, skinny, athletic shot-blocker. Like Noel, Nogueira is raw. But he has neither the same motor as Noel nor the same basketball IQ, which is why he probably isn't a lottery pick. His draft night range is 13 to 19.

June 18 Update: Yes, the Jazz are in the hunt for a point guard. But from what I can gather (and the Jazz are notoriously tight-lipped) the team isn't in love with any of the point guards who would be left on the board (Shane Larkin and Dennis Schroeder are the two most likely here). They also need bigs (both Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap are free agents this summer) and it looks as if they're open to using the draft to help address that need, as well. The Jazz have been high on Nogueira for a while, but his performance at the Eurocamp might have sealed the deal for this lithe, long, athletic shot-blocker. I don't think he'll be around when they draft again at 21.

June 10 Update: Nogueira showed up and played just one day of the Eurocamp this weekend. But it was a strong performance. He had 13 points, three boards and four blocks in the opening day of the camp. While teams would've liked to see more, they saw enough to note that he's dramatically improved the past year and is a legit first-round prospect. Think of him as a poor man's Noel. He's drawing interest from teams picking in both the teens and 20s.

May 28 Update: Nogueira is the international version of Nerlens Noel. Both are long, athletic shot-blockers who need to put on a lot of weight and continue to polish their offensive games. But for a team looking for an active defender with significant upside, he's a great get in the late first round.

May 7 Update: Three years ago, the 7-0 Brazilian with the 7-5 wingspan had a coming-out party at the 2010 Under-18 FIBA Americas Tournament in San Antonio. His 22-point, 14-rebound, 3-block performance against Kyrie Irving and Harrison Barnes pushed Team USA to the brink and had NBA teams salivating.

After two years of development and unfulfilled expectations for Estudiantes, the Spanish ACB League team, Nogueira is starting to blossom this season in the second-best league in the world. If he elects to stay in this draft, with his enormous shot-blocking ability, he could be a great find for an NBA team in the second part of the first round.

What changed for Nogueira?

In talking to people close to Nogueira, his work ethic has changed and he has matured. Estudiantes is a team with an excellent reputation for developing young talent, and "Bebe" (Portuguese for baby) has worked hard to finally prove himself this season. In 14 minutes per game, he is shooting 68 percent from the floor, mostly on rim runs in screen-and-roll plays and off offensive rebounds.

Nogueira has excellent potential as a rim protector at the NBA level, and even if he is stashed for another season or two -- he is under contract with Estudiantes until 2014 -- there are few defenders like him in this draft.

Apr 29 Update: A very young Nogueira, nicknamed "Bebe", had four points and six rebounds in 13 minutes at the 2011 Hoop Summit. After being a prospect for the past two years, he has started to blossom in the Spanish ACB league this year for Estudiantes. While his numbers certainly won't wow you -- 4.6 PPG, 3.2 RPG and 1 BPG in 12 MPG -- every scout I've spoken with has walked away from Bebe's games impressed with the improvement. Given his wingspan (7-foot-6) and his athleticism, his growth as a basketball player is a big development. He is a sleeper to be a first-round pick this year.

June 13 Update: Nogueira came and did his thing at Eurocamp in Treviso, Italy. He was long, active and blocked shots and rebounded in the one game he played here. He had five boards and four blocks but shot just 1-for-6 from the field. He was better Saturday against the under-19 Serbian teams scoring 11 points and grabbing five boards and four steals. True to his scouting report, his effort was often inconsistent all day. A leg cramp forced him to shut things down Sunday afternoon and he skipped his team's game.

Teams like Nogueria, but he was looking for a first-round promise and withdrew from the draft Monday. We'll likely see him try this again in the next few years. If his body fills out and his effort gets more consistent, he's a great long-term prospect.

Apr 11 Update: Nogueira was on the radar screen before Bismack Biyombo. His dominant performance against Team USA in the under-18s last summer drew rave reviews from scouts. But since then, he's been toiling away on a low-level Spanish team. Could Nogueira repeat the magic that saw him post 22 points, 14 rebounds and three blocks against Team USA last summer?

Not so much. Nogueira played just 13 minutes at the Hoop Summit in Portland, Ore., scored four points, grabbed six boards and blocked a shot. He also has a crazy wingspan and excellent athleticism, but unlike Biyombo, he desperately needs to add weight and polish to his game.

While scouts say he'd likely get drafted in the first round if he declared for the draft, another year in Europe filling out that body and polishing his game could make him a lottery pick in 2012.

Jan 4 Update: Who is the most underrated on our draft board? Again, there wasn't a ton of consensus here. San Diego State small forward Kawhi Leonard got the most votes, followed by Kansas power forwards Thomas Robinson and Markieff Morris, plus center Lucas Nogueira of Brazil.

Nogueira is a name to keep an eye on. He was a dominant rebounder and shot-blocker versus Team USA in the under-18 tournament this past summer. The scouts who have traveled to Spain to watch him play in the Spanish EBA league say he is still raw and needs to add strength, but his motor and shot-blocking ability make him a very intriguing prospect. We've had Robinson, Morris and Nogueira outside the Top 30 all year, but scouts say all three are first-round picks if they declare this spring.

Aug 9, 2010 Update: Nogueira came out of nowhere to become the story of the FIBA Americas U18 Championship. The Brazilian big man was a shot-blocking machine, recording a whopping 27 blocks in five games during the tournament. He had 22 points, 14 rebounds and 3 blocks against Team USA in the title game and drew rave reviews from scouts.

But before you slot him into the lottery, be forewarned: Nogueira needs to add considerable weight and strength, and he'll have to improve his offense dramatically. Right now his comp would be someone like Marshall's Hassan Whiteside. Lots and lots of upside is there, but it could be a while until he achieves it.

 

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