We’ve already showed you who the top three-point shooters and dunkers are in the upcoming NBA Draft, but sometimes it’s more fun to watch those guy’s attempts get thrown in to the 10th row. Read on to see who from this class will be swatting shots at the next level for years to come.
5. Tony Mitchell, North Texas
Mitchell is one of the most athletic players in the draft, giving him an intriguing upside as a shotblocker in the NBA. Standing at 6-8 with a 7-2 wingspan, he has been one of the most consistent rim protectors in the nation in his only two seasons in school. After averaging 3.0 blocks per game as a freshman, Mitchell swatted away 2.7 in his sophomore campaign. He should be off the board right after the lottery come draft time.
4. Rudy Gobert, France
Gobert is a little known rim protector, but if he’s able to put some weight on and continue to refine his post game, he’ll make for a wonderful draft day sleeper. He’s a legitimate 7-footer and uses a 7-9 wingspan to at the very least change every shot that comes near him. It may take a few years of development to tap in to his true potential, but certainly the framework is there. Expect Gobert to come off the board in the late lottery, or shortly there after.
3. Gorgui Dieng, Louisville
Dieng showed off his shootblocking prowess all throughout the season, but especially during Louisville’s championship run. He shows excellent timing and footwork, which should translate to the professional level. Although he’s a little limited offensively, teams certainly won’t be drafting him to put the ball in the basket. Dieng is one of the best defenders in the draft and should be gone by the mid-late first round.
2. Jeff Withey, Kansas - Set the all time tournament record for blocked shots in 2012
Withey is a rare senior entering the NBA Draft, although he only received major playing time in his last two years at Kansas. In those seasons, he averaged 3.8 blocks per game and broke Joakim Noah’s record for blocks in a single NCAA Tournament when he swatted away 31 shots in just six games. He’s the all-time leader in blocks at a school attended by Wilt Chamberlain. Withey is one of those players whose ceiling may not be the highest, but his floor is better than most. Expect him to be off the board in the late first round.
1. Nerlens Noel, Kentucky
Much like former Wildcat Anthony Davis was the premier shot blocker of the 2012 NBA Draft, Noel presents the same upside defensively at the next level. In his lone college season, he blocked 106 shots despite only playing in 24 games. Yes, your math is correct, that’s 4.4 per game. Noel is a pure defender with the capability to become an elite shot eraser at the next level. It’s going to take much more than a torn ACL for him to drop past the first three picks.
Lucas Nogueira, Brazil
Alex Len, Maryland
Steven Adams, Pittsburgh
Trevor Mbakwe, Minnesota