Yahoo sports just ran their mock draft 2.0 for this season. They still show Nerlens Noel in the top slot, but there are some name that follow in the first round that will be a surprise, and some that will be a surprise to none. What is evident from the outset, is that this is going to be the year of the big men in the draft because there are a lot of them and they come from everywhere.
#1 Nerlens Noel 7'-0" (Kentucky)- The obvious choice for a team looking to build for the future. I hate to see him go.
#4 Alex Len 7'-1" (Maryland)- Len could be even bigger than Noel if he reaches his full potential. He was definitely all that Noel could handle when they faced each other early on last year.
#10 Steven Adams 7'-0" (Pittsburgh)- Adams is another freshman leaving long before he reaches his peak in college. Another year or two at Pitt and Adams could have gone into the league and made an immediate impact. He still can, but his development is going to come slower this way.
#11 Cody Zeller 7'-0" (Indiana)- Zeller is another big man that fits the mold of a building block for the future. While not as big as Len, and not possessing the footwork of Noel, he has all the tools to become a top big man in the NBA. Where he lands may be just as important as any other factor. Yahoo shows him going to Philadelphia, and that could bode well for his future.
#12 Kelly Olynyk 7'-0" (Gonzaga)- The most experienced of any of the above mentioned players, Olynyk will suffer some from playing at Gonzaga, and not seeing a ton of physical play as some of the others in this list have. Make no mistake, however, he is gifted and has speed. He gets on a running team and he could be a huge add.
#16 Rudy Golbert 7'-2" (Cholet International)- Golbert needs bulk. Then again, a lot of these guys need bulk. He has been playing against pros in Europe, and has seen more hard court time than anyone in the draft. He is a project as he does not have the superior shot blocking and defensive skills of some of the others, but he can score.
#17 Mason Plumlee 7'-0" (Duke)- Plumlee is probably going to benefit from his position in the draft much more so than most who fall in this slot. Plumlee will likely go to a team who is close to being a serious contender, and will be with experienced players and not be counted on every day. Yahoo says Atlanta, and that seems about right. Plumlee is not as fast, nor as agile as some of these players, but he is a winner, and he is a senior, and brings a lot of experience to whatever team he goes to. He has that bulk that some will be lacking, and might be a surprise. then again, he could also fall as many as 6-7 more spots.
#20 Gorgui Dieng 6'-11" (Louisville)- Dieng has every tool he needs. He is unfortunately a jack of all trades, and a master of none. He does not have one gift above the others. He is not a scoring machine, not a blocking sensation, and yet he does both skills equally well. He is not as big as some others, and yet has some speed that some others do not have.
#27 Lucas Noguiera 6'11" : 7'2" with hair (Estudiantes International)- Noguiera might go all season without ever seeing the court. Coming in here in the first round virtually guarantees him a spot with a top flight team and probably means he will not get much floor time. He is another long range prospect that needs a lot of time in the weight room, and needs a ton of footwork improvement. He does however have some speed and like his other international counterpart Golbert, has seen some time on the court against pros already. He will likely be the last big man taken in the first round.
There you have them. A lot of beef on the hoof, but unfortunately some of them do not have enough beef yet. These are 9 very talented big men, however, that could be huge assets to their prospective franchises in the years to come. My money says there are at least 3 future NBA superstars in the group.