Is there a new No.1? And is it Alex Len?

Is there a new No.1? And is it Alex Len?
June 7, 2013, 10:15 pm
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The calendar shows we are on the cusp of being two months removed from the Final Four and officially less than three weeks away from the June 27 NBA Draft. In theory, that should be enough time for teams with high picks to crystallize their thoughts. Individual workouts are still taking place, but are often little more than a fine-tuning mechanism.

Even as rumors flow and information is gathered, there is typically some level of consensus building among pundits by this point in the draft process regarding who is the top player, who will be the first overall pick.

All evidence continues to suggest this is no typical draft.

"Normally by now it would be pretty clear who will be the No.1 pick, if not the top-3," an NBA front office executive told CSNwashington. "Last year Anthony Davis was obvious. This year, we might not know who is going first until the commissioner reads a name on draft night."

The best hope for mock draft harmony is with Kentucky center Nerlens Noel. More than most, the shot blocker is frequently projected to the No. 1 picking Cleveland Cavaliers despite a knee injury that likely keeps him sidelined until the end of 2013.

Because he fits the Cavaliers glaring positional weakness, Georgetown small forward Otto Porter Jr. is another name often tossed around. Kansas guard Ben McLemore and UNLV forward Anthony Bennett are among the few prospects with projected All-Star upside, though that might not translate into either receiving best of the best consideration., one of the leading draft voices, updated its top-100 player rankings for this year's class on Friday. The name above all others on the DE list is not one mentioned here yet: Maryland center Alex Len.

Certainly there have been times over the past 12 months where the athletic 7-foot-1 Ukrainian had some thinking he was the one, especially after the way Len dominated against Noel and Kentucky in the season opener.

"Big guy, big skill guy," the front executive said of Len. "The bigs tend to rise to the top of drafts."

However, for all the intrigue there was also inconsistent production over the remainder of the season followed by ankle surgery in early May. Ironically, there are also no individual workouts because of Len's injury, though any idea that such on-court sessions are equal to or outweigh actual game action is overstated.

"Too much emphasis is put into workout sessions at this time of year," the front office executive said. "They have a body of work, lots of film. The interview is important, but the workouts are not the end all be all."

Also ironic is Len possibly in the No. 1 discussion seeing as of this week there is no agreement (among mock drafters) that he's even a top-5 selection. Here is a breakdown of Len's slotting in various mock drafts, all posted this week:

Jonathan Givony (DraftExpress): 4

Chad Ford (ESPN): 6

Gary Parrish (CBSsports): 10

Hoopsworld: Four writers made selections and they have Len going 6, 9, 9 and 11

In its mock, Draft Express sticks with the herd mentality (or at least believing Cleveland will) by sending Noel to the Cavs despite making Len first on its overall rankings list (they also have the Wizards tabbing Porter).

Now, a mock draft is not the same as a ranking of the best players; Even if Michigan point guard Trey Burke was the obvious best player, the Cavaliers would not draft him since they already have Kyrie Irving. However, there must be some correlation, right?

Oh, that's right; this draft is currently consensus-less. Based on the varied opinions, it might be even after the first pick's revealed.