NBA Draft – Injuries and the #1 Pick

Anthony Bennett of UNLV and Alex Len of Maryland are the latest big name NBA Draft prospects in need of surgery, with Bennett undergoing rotator cuff surgery and Len having an ankle surgery. Along with Nerlens Noel, they will miss all of the NBA Pre-Draft workouts and the summer league, which helps develop rookies. Bennett is not expected to fall in the draft. He is projected to be a top five draft pick, although his injury might scare away a team or two. As a freshman for the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels, the 6’8 240 pounder led the team by averaging 16.1 points and 8.1 rebounds. Alex Len might fall a few picks due to the injury. Len is a great player and if a team is willing to make a gamble they could strike gold. Len is 7’1, 255 pounds and is only 19 years old. He averaged 11.9 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game.

The big question is who will be the number one overall pick. Nerlens Noel and Ben McLemore are the most likely candidates. Noel is a 6-10 228 pound freshman who played for Kentucky last season. Three months ago, when Noel was projected as the number one overall pick, he tore his ACL against the University of Florida which ended his season. The injury negatively affected his draft rank. Surprisingly, without even stepping onto the court, his rank began to recover. Both the Wildcat’s poor performance after the injury, which proved he was essential to the team, and the unimpressive play of other top prospects, revived his draft rank. McLemore, a 6’5 freshman, led the University of Kansas in scoring last season with 15.9 points per game. He shot 49.5% from the field and 87% from the free throw line.

Nba Draft

With McLemore you are getting an outstanding guard who proved last season in the Big 12 that he can compete with anybody. With Noel, you are getting a skilled big man that can potentially be a franchise player. Will teams risk the number one pick on Noel? It depends on who the winner of the draft lottery will be later this month. If the Bobcats win, Noel will be number one because of their need for a big man. They have also drafted guard heavy the last few seasons. If the Bobcats have the second pick and Noel is gone, then they will look to trade the draft pick. If the Orlando Magic win the lottery they could go either direction. Noel and McLemore would both enormously help the team. But with the draft lottery, who knows? Any team can win it. After the lottery, the draft will be much more discernible.

You can follow Thomas Frey on Twitter: @ThomasFreyRP

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