Why the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft is not as coveted this season
In the past decade, we have seen players like Kyrie Irving, Derrick Rose, Dwight Howard, and LeBron James be selected. Three of the past five first overall selections have been named Rookie of the Year and have already been selected for an All-Star team. If you look back a few decades, there was a 20 year span from 1968 to 1987 in which more than half of the first overall picks (11 to be exact) ended up in the Hall of Fame.
Sure, you have your occasional busts (i.e. Kwame Brown), but for the most part, having the first overall pick means you get to select the one player that everybody wants.
The 2013 NBA Draft Lottery will take place on Tuesday night, and while I'm sure that all the teams involved will be excited to see where they will be drafting, the excitement won't be quite the same as in years past. The fact of the matter is, there just isn't that coveted top prospect in this draft like there often has been. Last year, it was Anthony Davis. Everyone knew that whoever got that top pick would be taking the big man out of Kentucky. This year, the top pick is as up in the air as ever.
ESPN's Chad Ford reported that many teams feel that no player is worthy of the top pick. Of course, someone will have to be selected, but whoever it is will not be expected to dominate the way most top picks are expected to.
The potential top picks include Kentucky forward/center Nerlens Noel, Kansas shooting guard Ben McLemore, and Michigan point guard Trey Burke, with Indiana shooting guard Victor Oladipo and maybe even Georgetown small forward Otto Porter having an outside chance - any other prospect being selected first overall would be a historic surprise.
Each of those prospects have plenty of traits to like, and who knows - maybe one of them will develop into a franchise cornerstone, but as of now, that's not considered likely. Here is a quick breakdown of why each of these players is a good prospect, but not quite No. 1 overall material:
Nerlens Noel: Just about as athletic as 7 footers come these days, Noel has the potential to turn into a vicious monster in the paint on defense. He showed Anthony Davis-esque shot blocking ability at school, blocking an astounding 4.4 shots per game. However, he is coming off major knee surgery, and his offensive game is extremely raw. Davis came out of school a far better offensive player than Noel, and his 52.9% free throw shooting is a red flag for his potential on the perimeter. He also weighed in at a staggering 206 pounds - extremely light for an NBA center. His defensive potential is through the roof, but he probably will never be a go-to player on the offensive end.