The NBA Draft is Thursday and we still have no idea who is going to be the first overall pick. Naturally, you would think that the first pick would be the best player. Well according to a ranking done by ESPN's Chad Ford and some NBA general managers that he talked to, the best player is Victor Oladipo.
Ford asked NBA GMs to rank prospects on a scale of 1 to 10 and then took the averages and put them on a 0 to 100 scale. I figured that Nerlens Noel would end up being the top prospect, but instead it was Oladipo. Oladipo ended up with an average score of 85 out of 100. Noel was a close second at 82.5 out of 100. Here's what Ford said about Oladipo's somewhat surprising claim to the top spot.
"Ford's comments: While Oladipo's ranking may surprise some, I'm not shocked. The key to his ranking is that his low score is only 7. With a narrow range between his low score of 7 and his high score of 9, Oladipo is widely regarded as the safest pick in the draft. While he doesn't garner a 10 from anyone, teams believe he's unlikely to fail. A number of GMs have privately confided in me that he's their favorite player in the draft -- not necessarily ranked No. 1 on their boards, but their favorite player."
The highest score that anyone gave Oladipo was a 9 out of 10, while the lowest anyone gave him was a 7 out of 10. Noel, on the other hand, received at least one perfect 10 out of 10. So what made him fall below Oladipo? His lowest score was a pathetic 4 out of 10. Which NBA GM thinks Nerlens Noel is only a 4 out of 10? I have no idea, but that one outlier likely torpedoed his average score enough to put him 2nd overall. Here's what Ford wrote about Nerlens.
"Ford's comments: With the exception of one 4 rating (does this guy have info we don't have?), Noel received an 8, 9 or 10 from every voter. Clearly someone in the NBA thinks he'll be a bust, but the majority have him ranked as the top player in the draft. While Noel certainly has question marks thanks to ACL issues and a thin frame, most scouts and GMs still see him as an elite prospect."
So maybe that one GM was just drunk when he filled out his ranks or maybe Nerlens Noel stole his prom date. We'll never know.
Ben McLemore, Anthony Bennett, and Otto Porter rounded out the Top 5, while Alex Len came in right after them at #6. Len had an average score of 77.5, with a high of 9 and a low of 4. Here's a bit of what Ford said about Len's ranking:
"Ford's comments: While Len has a legitimate shot at going No. 1, our voters overall weren't nearly as high on him. He didn't garner a 10 from anyone and was rated as low as 4 by one voter. That lack of consensus from our panel shows up around the league as well in private conversations. Some GMs love him, while others are very wary. But his overall rating of 77.5 puts him just five points behind Noel."
Based on this, it is probably fair to say that the Cavs would be making an unorthodox pick by going with Len over Noel. That said, it's worth noting that Chad Ford continuously says how tight-lipped the Cavaliers and Chris Grant are, so it's fair to assume that he was not one of the GMs that participated in the ranking.