Nerlens Noel Picked by New Orleans Pelicans: Scouting Report and Analysis

Daniel O'BrienFeatured ColumnistJune 27, 2013

With the sixth pick of the 2013 NBA draft, the New Orleans Pelicans selected Nerlens Noel from University of Kentucky.

Here's everything you need to know about Noel: 

Physical Tools

Here's how Bleacher Report NBA Draft Lead Writer Jonathan Wasserman breaks down Noel's physical attributes:

Noel measures in around 6'11'' with a monstrous 7'3.5'' wingspan. He's an incredible athlete for a kid that size, and has the foot speed and springs to cover enormous ground and aerial territory in order to track down loose rebounds, finish in transition or catch lobs at the ball's highest point. Being able to transport a body his size from point A to point B with speed and aggression triggers fear in penetrating guards and opposing frontcourts.

The bad news is that he weighed in at just 206 pounds at the combine, an awfully low number for a projected NBA center. This is likely the result of not playing the final two months of the season, but adding bulk will be a priority once his knee is back to full strength.


Getting to Know Nerlens Noel

Noel's personality and on-court intensity isn't always electrifying, but he definitely has the drive to continually become a better player. His work ethic during his ACL rehab has demonstrated his willingness to grow and develop on both ends of the floor.


NBA Player Comparison

If Noel learns how to maximize his tools, he could be as effective and dominant defensively as Joakim Noah and also be a solid offensive role player.

On the downside, he could end up being like Larry Sanders, who's a good athlete but not an elite center.


Pro Predictions

When he hits the NBA hardwood as a rookie, Noel will be an impact defender who can protect the rim and fit into team schemes. However, the jury is out on his offensive reliability until he can execute powerful post moves and hit open mid-range jumpers.

Initially, his role will be as a starter or first big man off the bench. He won't be given a heavy workload, as he'll see somewhere in the range of 25 minutes per night.

Although he won't be a star in the early going, he could become one of the best post players in the game if he actualizes his potential.