Noel's doing it big, high top fade and all.
The 2013 NBA Draft is still a good ways away, but there are number of NBA teams already considering themselves lottery-bound—and the anticipation of every rookie crop abounds among fans.
The rankings here in the slide show are a composite of three different mock drafts. The three sources averaged are Chad Ford's ESPN Insider Top 100 Rankings (Subscription required), NBADraft.net and DraftExpress.com. Each mock paints a slightly different picture, with several prospects ranking high on one particular only.
This slideshow presents the top 10 prospects according to the three sources pooled. The numbers preceding the players' names are their composite ranks.
We know you remember LeHigh's upset over Duke.
Ford- 14, NBADraft.net- 9, DraftExpress- 12
C.J. McCollum comes from the school that shocked Duke last year in the NCAA tournament: Lehigh.
McCollum is the top prospect in a mid-major conference and is now in his senior season. He's putting up 25.9 points per game on 52.1 percent shooting, including 50 percent from downtown.
He should be a good bigger point guard at the next level, comparable to Deron Williams, though none of the three sites offer him that level of upside. Physically, he is comparable to Williams, and he is a pure shooter much like D-Will, so the comparison is apt.
Isaiah Austin isn't built like big bro was—yet
Ford- 12, NBADraft.net- 15, DraftExpress- 6
Of all the skinny centers in this draft, Isaiah Austin may be the skinniest. Standing 7-foot without shoes, he clocks in at just a feather over 200 pounds. He doesn't draw favorable comparisons on NBADraft.net, which ranks him the lowest of the three sources.
His NBA comparisons are Jonathan Bender and Alexis Ajinca, both of whom were bust city. He's said not to be finished growing, though, and has a 7'4" wingspan.
Austin is the younger brother of Isaac Austin, who had several good seasons in the NBA, though, so perhaps there is greater upside, the kind that DraftExpress suggests, which ranks him the highest of all three sources at No. 6.
Otto Porter is going to be a standout small forward in the NBA
Ford- 9, NBADraft.net- 6, DraftExpress- 14
Otto Porter seems very reminiscent of both Andre Iguodala and Gerald Wallace. A long top-notch defender standing 6'8" with a 7'1" wingspan, Porter is averaging 1.8 steals per game and 1.8 blocks per game this year in just under 32 minutes a night.
He's a small forward with the length to be an undersized-four if he wanted to be. NBADraft.net compares Porter to Stacey Augmon, which is a long-lasting version of Iguodala from the 90s, for my younger audience.
Porter's knocking down his shots this year, though, which could potentially make him a lot more like Iggy. Porter is shooting 52.3 percent from the floor and 66.7 percent from three.
Ford- 6, NBADraft.net- 17, DraftExpress- 4
Rudy Gobert may not be from the same country as the other three big men in front of him in this draft, but he has something in common with all three of them: He too needs to add bulk.
The 7'1" 220 pound Gobert is long and athletic and gets off the floor very well. He has a 7'9" wingspan and looks a lot like a cross between Anthony Randolph and JaVale McGee.
The team who drafts him will be hoping more for the latter, as Gobert's ability to run the court and fill passing lanes will make him a nice prospect for a team like Denver, Golden State or New York (with the Warriors being most likely to be in a spot to draft him).
Could Goodwin replicate the rookie version of 'Reke?
Ford- 8, NBADraft.net- 8, DraftExpress- 8
John Calipari has compared Archie Goodwin to Tyreke Evans. He's that gifted athletically, and he is projected to go eighth by all three boards. Despite standing only 6'5", he has a 6'10" wingspan.
Goodwin is putting up 16.4 points per game this season while hitting 47.9 percent of his shots and 46.2 percent from three. He's also making an impact defensively with roughly a block and a steal per game. Goodwin has seen big minutes right away, averaging 34.3 minutes per night.
Is Poythress a 3 or a 4 in the NBA?
Ford- 4, NBADraft.net- 12, DraftExpress- 7
Alex Poythress will be either the second or third Kentucky player taken in the draft (yes, the Wildcats are that stacked again). Poythress is 6'8" with a 7-foot wingspan and will be a great combo forward at the NBA level, but Kentucky has been using him at small forward so far this season.
He was ranked fourth among NCAA freshmen and is averaging 15.4 points per game this year for the Wildcats. He's shooting 67 percent from the floor and 50 percent from three-point range. Poythress could be a big find for the right offense at the NBA level.
Len is strong for his size, but still needs bulk.
Ford-5, NBADraft.net-7, DraftExpress- 5
Alex Len of Maryland has the one thing that can't be taught: Size. He's also very skilled, much like Cody Zeller, and at 7'1," he is sure to be a good shot blocker and rebounder given his decent athleticism. Like Zeller and Nerlens Noel, though, Len lacks strength and clocks in at just 225 pounds.
To withstand the rigors of the 5-spot in the NBA, he'll have to add a solid 35 pounds of muscle—somehow.
Could Mohammad be the next household name?
Ford-3, NBADraft.net-4, DraftExpress- 1
Shabazz Muhammad is said to have a near LeBron James-like upside. That's good news for UCLA, who recently received news Muhammad would be eligible for the 2012-13 NCAA season. Muhammad is athletic and gifted with a great body, but still is just 19.
Muhammad a great finisher much like LBJ and a good rebounder. He'll be a very physical two-guard and see time at small forward as well. He's the top perimeter player in the 2013 crop.
His older brother Tyler is doing well in CLE, Cody should top it.
Ford- 2, NBADraft.net- 1, DraftExpress- 3
NBADraft.net predicts Cody Zeller to be the No. 1 overall pick, and no one ranks Zeller out of the top three.
The gifted 7-footer from Indiana is the best of the Zeller brothers and is extremely mobile, but needs to add some bulk for the NBA.
Until he bulks up, he could star at power forward like Anthony Davis is right now. Zeller is coordinated and has great footwork in the post, and he would have already been a top-5 pick had he come out last year.
Noel has developed even quicker than anticipated.
Ford- 1, NBADraft.net- 2, DraftExpress- 1
Nerlens Noel has appeared more offensively refined than almost any expected. He's coordinated and an excellent high-post passer.
Noel is a phenomenal shot blocker and will keep Kentucky competitive deep into March. However, Noel is likely a one and done and is thus ranked atop two of the three sources used here.
There's really nothing stopping Noel from being a top-tier NBA center when the time comes. His athleticism and size outclasses all of the other big men in this relatively stacked crop of centers.