With the college basketball season now a few weeks old, evaluating draft prospects can actually get going in earnest. Every team has played at a couple of games, most have played more. Before the season started, both Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress and Chad Ford of ESPN both had, in some order, Nerlens Noel of Kentucky, Cody Zeller of Indiana, Shabazz Muhammed of UCLA, James Michael McAdoo as four of their top five.
After three weeks, two names have jumped up both Givony and Ford's board. Maryland center Alex Len was a mid to late first round pick before the season started. That all changed starting with Len's domination of Noel and the rest of Kentucky's front line to open the season. Now, he's five on Ford's board and seven on Givony's. Len totaled 24 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks. Since then, Len has scored in double figures in all five of his games. He still needs to put on some weight and refine his post game a little, but this video below will shows Len's size and ability to finish around the basket already create problems for defenders, even skilled shot blockers like Noel.
If you're a fan of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, you'll love Kentucky forward Alex Poythress. Currently ranked fourth on Ford's board and ninth on Givony's. Poythress is bigger than MKG and might even be a more explosive athlete. The problem is he might be more of a power forward than small forward, but he can defend both positions (bigger shooting guards too) and is a good enough perimeter shooter that John Calipari can start him at small forward and not get exposed. The Freshman struggled in his first game against Maryland but has been on fire since then. On the season, Poythress, who I can't help but call "Prometheus," is averaging 18.4 points, 7.4 rebounds a game while shooting 50 percent from three and a staggering 68 percent from the field. Check out Poythress' highlights from his monster game against Duke.
If Len and Poythress' starts continue, the guy the could slip is McAdoo. McAdoo doesn't have the ideal size Noel and Zeller has and the young team he captains is most likely to have some stumbles along the way. Ford touched on this briefly, but McAdoo is perhaps trying to do much on offense which has resulted in too many turnovers. It'll be interesting to see McAdoo's continued adjustment to being UNC's number one guy.
Photo: Diamondback Online