Examining the lens that Nerlens Noel is viewed through is almost as interesting as evaluating Nerlens Noel himself.
Noel's style of play and strengths are much more in line with what the modern NBA big man looks like rather than what the great centers of the past looked like. Part of the complaints about Noel's game seem to be a projection of this, and Noel is almost held accountable for how the game has changed.
Noel is a bit polarizing as a prospect, but he's an incredible shot blocker and rim protector who combines solid instincts, tons of athleticism and great length to disturb and alter a ton of looks.
Noel is also incredibly mobile, which allows him to cover ground and always get back to the paint with great speed. As far as defensive potential goes, no one touches Noel in this draft.
It's a mistake to cast Noel as a completely one-dimensional player, however. From day one, he'll be capable of beating most big men up the floor in transition, and as a pick-and-roll threat, he'll demand the type of attention a guy like Tyson Chandler does.
Noel isn't overly skilled offensively, as the form on his jumper appears to be broken and he's not a true post threat. While he could thrive in a stretch pick-and-roll, one-in four-out type offense, any team looking to simply dump the ball to him on the block and get points should be looking elsewhere.
While Noel's limitations as a shooter coupled with his light frame and recovery from an ACL injury may be enough to scare teams off, he probably has plenty of athleticism to spare and he definitely has a good grasp of what his role is on the court.
All elite defenses have a great rim protector, and Noel is one of the best prospects in that category to come out in years.