Odds & Ends: Noel, Spurs Prospects, Thunder

It has been extremely rare for a college basketball team to deliver a number one pick in consecutive years. However, with incoming freshman Nerlens Noel already being touted as the top selection of the 2013 NBA Draft, Kentucky could be the first program to do it since 1955 and 1956, when Duquesne’s Dick Ricketts and Sihugo Green were each selected number one overall on draft day in those respective years. Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld provides some background on Noel, from his early beginnings as strictly a defensive minded player to now, a time when some marvel at the possibility of him being the NBA’s next great big man. 

Here's more of what we've heard this evening, including two possible international gems whose draft rights are owned by the Spurs, an offseason dilemma for the Thunder, and some insight on two former Dream Team members looking for work in the NBA… 

  • AJ Mitnick of SheridanHoops examines center Erazem Lorbek and point guard Nando De Colo, two European players whose draft rights are currently held by San Antonio. Mitnick likens the 6'11 Lorbek to Nenad Krstic and feels he possesses the perfect skill set for Gregg Popovich's style of play. The 6'5'' De Colo has been the backup to Tony Parker on the French national team, and Mitnick asserts that his pick and roll play would make him a smooth fit with the Spurs. Yesterday, we provided a list of teams which own the rights of international players that have been drafted since 2005. 
  • Tom Ziller of SB Nation believes that with both Serge Ibaka and James Harden eligible for hefty contract extensions this summer and the real possibility that only one can be retained, the Thunder should keep Ibaka instead of Harden. While he sees Harden as one of the most talented two-guards in the league, Ziller sees his offensive firepower more as a novelty with Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant on board (whereas Ibaka's defensive contributions are a necessity). Earlier today, we previewed Oklahoma City's Offseason Outlook and discussed that while there are no real salary cap restrictions which would prevent the team from keeping both, they might not be able to afford doing so. 
  • John Mitchell of Philly.com explains why there's no way that Charles Barkley could become the new 76ers GM, calling to mind that he would never be able to have the full control he would want in managing the team because of Doug Collins' heavy influence on the front office. 
  • No longer associated with the Magic, Patrick Ewing told Mike Lupica in a radio interview that he is trying to market himself in hopes of eventually landing a head coaching job, writes Matt Mazzeo of ESPN New York


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