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The 7-foot-1 Maryland center is projected as a top five selection in today’s NBA draft.
Associated Press | File March
Most draft experts agree that Maryland center Alex Len (left) will be among the first big men chosen in the NBA draft.
Associated Press | File January
Reggie Bullock (35) of North Carolina is expected to go in the first round of tonight’s draft.
Associated Press | File January
Guard Erick Green (right) of Virginia Tech is seen by most experts as a second-round pick in the NBA draft.
Thursday, June 27, 2013
Erick Green, Shane Larkin and Mason Plumlee are among the ACC players who are expected to be chosen in the NBA draft tonight.
But the first ACC player who is expected to be plucked did not join that trio on the All-ACC first team this year. He did not even make the All-ACC third team.
Maryland center Alex Len does have something else on his resume, though.
“He’s 7-foot-1,” ESPN draft analyst Chad Ford said with a laugh. “He’s 7-foot-1 and he’s skilled.”
Len opted to turn pro after averaging 11.9 points and 7.8 rebounds as a sophomore this year. He is one of the top candidates to be taken with the No. 1 overall pick by Cleveland, although Ford expects Kentucky center Nerlens Noel to be chosen with that selection.
Ford predicts Len will be taken by Charlotte with the fourth pick of the draft.
“He runs the floor well,” Ford said on a teleconference. “He’s got a nice touch on his jump shot. Teams are giving him a major benefit of the doubt because if you watched Maryland play this year, you know that they had very poor guard play, and big men like Len need their guards to get them the ball. Len didn’t get the ball a lot.”
Ford predicts Green, who led the nation in scoring as a Virginia Tech senior point guard this year, will be chosen by the Washington Wizards early in the second round — with the 38th overall pick of the two-round draft.
But Ford said Green might be snatched up in the first round, when the first 30 players will be chosen. He said Indiana might take him with the 23rd pick of the first round. He said other first-round options for Green are Utah at No. 21 or the Los Angeles Clippers at No. 25.
“The question is, is he a point guard or not? If it was clear he was a point guard, I think we would have been talking about him as high as 15, 14 in the draft,” Ford said. “[He is] one of the players that I think is a sleeper in this draft and one of those ones that in a couple years we may look back and say, ‘How did that guy get into the second round?’ ”
ESPN analyst Jay Bilas said Green “could definitely sneak into the first round” but will more likely go high in the second round. Bilas said the third-team All-American is worthy of being a first-round pick.
“I don’t think he’s going to be the kind of scorer in the NBA that he had to be in college, but I think Erick’s a good player,” said Bilas, who will be part of the network’s draft telecast. “He’s more of a combo guard; he’s not necessarily a point.
“He doesn’t have great speed or athleticism and he didn’t distinguish himself as a defender, but he can really score.”
The draft does not boast a franchise player or superstar for the Cavaliers to take with the top pick, Ford said.
“When they evaluated this draft, they didn’t see one player in this draft that they felt was going to be a starter on an Eastern Conference playoff team,” Ford said.
Ford said Cleveland is considering taking Noel, Len or UNLV forward Anthony Bennett with the top pick.
Noel’s freshman season at Kentucky was cut short when he tore the ACL in his left knee in February.
“How often for a first overall pick would we say, ‘Boy, great defender, great shot blocker, really plays hard, gets a lot of steals, really impacts the game on the defensive end but doesn’t score and is injured’?” Bilas said.
Ford said Cleveland has been looking to trade the top pick.
“A lot of teams are complaining that Cleveland maybe is overvaluing this pick because there isn’t a consensus No. 1, but you can also understand Cleveland’s perspective,” Ford said. “If they’re going to give away the No. 1 pick, they have to walk away with a piece they think can help compel them to the playoffs.
“I just don’t see, personally, a team giving up the talent Cleveland’s looking for.
“The best players in this draft are either big guys who are injured or they’re wings that have some interesting limitations.”
Ford predicts Orlando will take Indiana guard Victor Oladipo with the second pick in the draft, with Washington taking Georgetown forward Otto Porter with the third pick.
“Porter may be the most complete player in the draft,” Ford said.
Ford figures Phoenix will take Kansas guard Ben McLemore with the fifth pick. Bilas said McLemore is the most talented player in the draft.
“He’s got the most potential to be an all-star,” Bilas said.
Ford predicts Larkin, the Miami point guard, will go to Milwaukee with the 15th pick.
“Larkin measured with a 5-foot-10 wingspan, which, when we looked at our database over the last decade, hasn’t seen a point guard with that small of a [wingspan] drafted,” Ford said. “That’s a significant disadvantage for him.
“But he does everything else well. He’s a great pick-and-roll point guard.”
Ford expects North Carolina’s Reggie Bullock to go to Cleveland with the 19th pick. He predicts Chicago will take Plumlee, the Duke forward, with the 20th pick.
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