For college basketball, even though I didn't watch every regular season game (ok you got me, I only watched a handful), I did watch at least a part of every tourney game, and tourney performance has proven to be a statistically significant indicator of NBA success. ESPN's Neil Paine has done research showing that All-Tourney selections don't necessarily fare better, but I saw another piece (will link to it when I find it) that indicates those players who improve their performance in the tournament do well in the Association. Based on that, here are my observations of the projected lottery picks, as found in Chad Ford's mock draft 6.0. For kicks, I'll throw in some player comparisons too:
Of course the first guy didn't play in the tournament! Noel scares me, and apparently he scares the Cavs, too. I'm not too concerned about the knee: it seems like a freak injury followed by bad player management (can't blame a teenage AAU kid from wanting to play). The problem for Noel is that he has Tyrus Thomas written all over him. I was fooled by Thomas' performance as an athlete the year he was drafted, and with that big LSU front line, looked unstoppable. But NBA bigs are, well, bigger, and Tyrus never learned how to score over or around them. That does not bode well for the 206 pound Noel. Does he lose athleticism if be tries to gain weight? Can he get a jump shot? To me, his ceiling is Theo Ratliff - someone who was good, but may never be someone to build around. Maybe with Kyrie, that's enough. Maybe in this draft, that's enough. Still makes me nervous.