Trading for an established Center might be the team's best option, but this post is not about that.
Here we are strictly looking at PACE ADJUSTED PER 40 MINUTES stats from this season's NCAA Centers, who are projected to be first round selections. Stats from this page at DraftExpress.com.
Rankings are based upon position among the Top 100 prospects for the 2013 NBA Draft.
Nerlens Noel is very good at blocking shots: 5.4 per game leading the group, with Zeke Marshall coming in 2nd with 5.0. Only 10 players averaged 3 blocks or more, notably: (3) Jeff Withey 4.9, (5) Steven Adams 3.7, (7) Gorgui Dieng 3.2, and (10) Alex Len 3.0.
Other C 1st rounders, (21) Cody Zeller 1.7, (23) Kelly Olynyk 1.7, and (24) Mason Plumlee 1.6
Mike Muscala and Trever Mbekwe should both be 2nd round considerations for the Blazers as they were 1-2 in the group with 14.8 and 14.4 rebounds respectively.
Of our Center options: (11) Gorgui Dieng 11.8, (12) Steven Adams 11.6, (13) Nerlens Noel 11.6, (14) Alex Len 11.5, (16) Mason Plumlee 11.1, (19) Kelly Olynyk 11.1, (21) Cody Zeller 10.7, (23) Jeff Withey 10.5, All are fairly close in rebounding when adjusted and all in the top 25, as they should be.
*(One should note that while everyone likes to put down Olynyk's rebounding, he was the only one with a teammate also in the top 30 for rebounding, (20) Elias Harris 10.9, to compete for rebounds. Indiana's (32) Christian Watford 8.7, and (36) Victor Oladipo 8.7, were also high).
Kelly Olynyk is 2nd in the group at 27.7 ppg, only trailing BlazersEdge favorite CJ McCollum at 30.6 (in 12 games).
(12) Cody Zeller 21.8, (28) Mason Plumlee 19.0, (40) Alex Len 17.5, (45) Jeff Withey 17.0, (65) Steven Adams 13.2, (67) Nerlens Noel 12.8, and (69) Gorgui Dieng 12.3. Clearly scoring is not a strong point for all of them.
Kelly Olynyk also shines here with a 3rd in the nation FG% of 63.1, (5) Mason Plumlee 59.9, (8) Nerlens Noel 59.0, (10) Jeff Withey 58.2, (13) Steven Adams 57.1, (16) Cody Zeller 56.2, (19) Alex Len 53.4, (20) Gorgui Dieng 53.4.
All of the top Center prospects are in the Top 20 for FG%, which is a good sign, even if scoring is not their strong suit, it is good to be efficient when your center does shoot.
Nerlens Noel likes stealing the ball almost as much as he likes to block it, coming in 5th with 2.6.
(24) Gorgui Dieng 1.7, (33) Cody Zeller 1.4, (45) Steven Adams 1.2, (48) Mason Plumlee 1.1, (59) Kelly Olynyk 1.0, (62) Jeff Withey 0.9, (75) Alex Len 0.3, range from good to insignificant.
In this stat, less is more with Alex Len coming in at 5th highest with 3.9.
(17) Kelly Olynyk 3.5, (25) Gorgui Dieng 3.2, (26) Nerlens Noel 3.2, (34) Steven Adams 3.0, (39) Cody Zeller 2.9, (42) Mason Plumlee 2.8, (44) Jeff Withey 2.6.
None of these players (including Noel, since he is hurt) are likely to become a starter for the Blazers next season.
There is a reason Nerlens Noel will likely be the #1 pick, he is a ball hawk, getting the steal and block stats to back it up with solid rebounding numbers. He passes the eye test with his hustle and athleticism as well. If lottery blessings grant the Blazers a top 3 pick, he would have to be the #1 option for them, it's worth the risk.
Kelly Olynyk, everyone's favorite least favorite prospect can really score, and do so efficiently. His rebounding is only 0.7 worse than the best of the group an area that often get's targeted as a weakness, but really isn't. His defense isn't great however and he has the 2nd highest foul rate of the group. Probably not he best fit for Portland.
The most realistic options at #10 are probably Len, Adams and Dieng. Of those 3, all are good shot blockers and right near each other in rebounding, with Dieng leading the way there. Alex Len is the better scorer of the 3, but he was a focal point for his team on offense while the other 2 were not. Len also cannot steal the ball and gets A LOT of fouls which is very concerning. All 3 are from other countries and are considered very raw with room to grow. Len and Adams are seen to have higher ceilings, mostly because of size and athleticism. Dieng might be the 1 of the group who could help the most from day 1 and has been climbing draft boards steadily since the Big East Tournament.