Jul 032013
 
Nerlens Noel shook hands with David Stern after being selected with the No. 6 overall pick last week. Photo: Associated Press

Nerlens Noel shook hands with David Stern after being selected with the No. 6 overall pick last week.
Photo: Associated Press

ESPN analyst Chad Ford had one of his chat sessions with NBA fans Wednesday, and there were quite a few questions related to Kentucky.

Ford was asked if the teams that passed on Nerlens Noel were concerned with his knee injury. He said they weren’t …

“Doesn’t sound like from all the intel I can gather. I’ve talked to a number of teams that passed on him and none mentioned long-term concerns with the knee. I think they WERE worried about drafting a guy who might not play for them next year. Even the GMs that WANT to be bad next year were worried that their jobs might be in jeopardy if they didn’t have their top draft pick for the year. That’s the sort of short term thinking that put a lot of these teams in the lottery to begin with.”

Ford has Kansas freshman Andrew Wiggins going No. 1 in the 2014 draft. But the ESPN analyst is also high on Julius Randle. He was asked whether Randle has a shot of being picked No. 1 instead of Wiggins …

“Sure. In any other draft, he’d be the consensus No. 1 pick. He’s a beast of a low post player — blessed with strength, athleticism, and a very polished inside/outside game. As long as Calipari can convince him not to fall in love with his jump shot, he’s got a chance to be the most dominant big man in the country. Teams always covet players like Randle and if Wiggins stumbles, they’ll jump.”

UK freshman Andrew Harrison and Oklahoma State sophomore Marcus Smart are expected to be the first two point guards chosen in next year’s draft. Who’s better? …

“Probably Smart. Both are big point guards who can play the 1 or the 2. Harrison is probably a better shooter. But Smart is a better leader and has coaches in love with his character. Harrison has a rep of being a bit selfish. If Calipari can beat that out him, they probably both go Top 5. But I think Smart is the better prospect right now.”

Comparing this season’s UK team to the national champion Wildcats of 2012 will be common over the next few months. Ford was asked if the 2013-14 team will be as good as the title winners …

“Not sure if they have the same character — Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist were both as high of quality people as you can have on a team. But his year’s squad has *gulp* SEVEN players in our Top 30. That’s just crazy.”

Ford had more to say about Noel, Wiggins, John Wall’s Wizards and the idea of tanking to get a high draft pick in 2014. Read it all right here.

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