Big Board: Noel remains No. 1

Smart, Burke among risers in latest ranking of top 30 NBA draft prospects

Updated: April 3, 2013, 12:30 PM ET
By Chad Ford | ESPN Insider
Nerlens NoelAndy Lyons/Getty ImagesIt's becoming pretty clear Nerlens Noel should be the No. 1 pick in the 2013 draft.

The Sweet 16 and Elite Eight narrowed down the NCAA field and proved to be brutal for many of the players on our Big Board.

We started the week with 11 players on our Big Board still playing and ended with just four -- Trey Burke, Michael Carter-Williams, Glenn Robinson III and Gorgui Dieng -- going to the Final Four. In other words, the Final Four might be great, but it's not going to be a great NBA scouting event (though scouts are salivating over a Burke versus Carter-Williams matchup on Saturday).

Here's our latest take, after talking to NBA GMs and scouts, on our Top 30.

Also, be sure to check out our updated Top 100 and our updated Lottery Mock Draft.

Editor's note: We updated our Big Board on Wednesday by dropping Alex Poythress (who said he'd return to Kentucky for his sophomore year) and by adding Steven Adams (who reversed course on Tuesday and announced he'd be entering the draft).


1
Nerlens Noel
SCHOOL: Kentucky
CLASS: Fr.
HT/WT: 6-11, 215
POS: C
10.5 PPG
9.5 RPG
4.4 BPG

Noel remains atop our Board in part because of the promise he shows in the NBA and in part because no other player here has played well enough to dethrone him. Our own Kevin Pelton gave more strong evidence for Noel to be No. 1 this week when he released the preliminary results of his projected WARP (wins above replacement player) statistic for NBA prospects. Noel's projected WARP is 4.0 -- the highest of any player in college hoops. I'm hearing from other teams that their advanced statistical models also put Noel atop their boards. Combine that with his size and his athletic ability and it's probably going to take a red flag by the NBA doctors at the draft combine to push him out of this spot.

PREVIOUS RANKING: 1 | PLAYER CARD


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Chad Ford | email

Senior Writer, NBA Insider