Even though the 2013 NBA Draft lacks a ton of star power, it’s starting to seem like a gold mine for role players. On the court, no one is more undervalued than a rebounder. I liken guys like Reggie Evans or Omer Asik to an offensive lineman in football. Because of their inability to put the ball in the hoop or be flashy, they will never get the respect they deserve. Nothing is more important to a team’s success than cleaning up on the glass, and this draft class for sure has players that can help in that area. After already showing you who the top three-point shooters, dunkers, shotblockers, and passers are, we now bring you the best rebounders in the 2013 NBA Draft.
5. Jamaal Franklin, San Diego State
Have you ever heard of a guard averaging 9.5 rebounds? That’s exactly what Franklin did in his third and final year at San Diego State, where he led his team in points, rebounds, assists, and steals. At 6-5, he’s more of an undersized small forward than a shooting guard, but a little work on his stroke could turn him into a draft day steal. Right now most mocks have him going in Knicks territory, towards the end of the first round, but his high energy style of play makes him of great value. Either way, ditching the long sleeves will make him a little more aerodynamic, if nothing else.
4. Tony Mitchell, North Texas
Mitchell has been all over TOK since the season ended, whether it be as a top shotblocker or a Knicks draft prospect. His services will certainly be taken in to consideration if he’s still on the board when the Knicks pick at 24, and deservedly so. Mitchell is one of the most athletic players in the draft and runs on an endless motor. He can get on the glass both offensive and defensively using his size, wingspan of over 7-feet, and explosive jumping ability. It’s very well possible that he’ll be long gone by the time the Knicks get on the clock, but if not, he would be a great fit in New York.
3. Andre Roberson, Colorado
Roberson was mentioned as a top dunker, so you already know he has hops, but he also was the nation’s second leading rebounder per game. He’s a bit undersized at 6-7, which has been totally killing his draft stock, but a 6-11 wingspan and incredible timing on his jump help him to come down with the board. He seems to have a nose for the ball, but hustle plays can only get you so far. Roberson is going to need to refine his offense in order to succeed in the NBA. For now, he’s just a mid-second rounder who will hopefully have a chance to show off his skill set at the next level.
2. Alex Len, Maryland
It’s no coincidence that the last two players on this list are being debated by the Cavs for the first overall pick. Len might have the highest upside of any player in the draft, led by his incredible frame. He’s big enough to play the five already, standing at 7-1, 255 pounds, with a wingspan of almost 7-4, but at age 20, his body can still grow even more. In only two years at Maryland, Len packed on over 30 pounds, helping him to dominate the glass, even averaging almost 3.0 offensive rebounds per game in just 26 minutes. His size and skill set should translate well to the NBA and he will no doubt be off the board in the top ten come draft night.
1. Nerlens Noel, Kentucky
Not only is Noel the number one shotblocker in this draft class, but he’s also the best rebounder too. Something that almost always translates to the NBA is defense, and as long as he stays healthy and keeps his motor running, Noel will have the opportunity to become one of the league’s best rebounders for years to come. At 6-11, Noel has no problem banging down low and grinding out position. His 7-3 wingspan combined with his superior leaping ability (We’ll have to see if his injury diminishes that) allows him to consistently come down with the ball. Noel weighed in at only 206 pounds at the combine, so he’ll have to add some weight to dominate at the next level, but he has a great work ethic and a ceiling with no limits. He’s guaranteed to be a top two pick.
Mason Plumlee, Duke
Anthony Bennett, UNLV
Steven Adams, Pittsburgh
Lucas Nogueira, Brazil
Gorgui Dieng, Louisville
Jackie Carmichael, Illinois State