The Cleveland Cavaliers aren’t in rebuilding mode. They want to make the playoffs, considering they have a lottery pick for a third straight season. Nerlens Noel has been the popular choice for the number one pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, but if the Cavs wants to win and reach the playoffs now, Otto Porter might be the better choice as the number one pick.
Noel seemed like the consensus choice for the number one draft pick in 2013 ever since he enrolled to play for John Calipari at Kentucky, but his injury, which hasn’t hurt his status in most mock drafts, is finally starting to get some attention.
His rehab, according to his doctor, is going pretty well, but there are other problems to consider. Noel is a very raw offensive talent. He averaged 10.5 points per game for the Wildcats last season, and is going to struggle for some time once he enters the league, even if he does have the potential to become a formidable NBA center in a few years. Anthony Davis wasn’t the most complete offensive specimen entering the league as well, but he was much more NBA-ready than Noel is right now, without even thinking about the injury.
Otto Porter isn’t an offensive juggernaut himself (averaged 16.2 points per game), but he seems to be one of the more complete and versatile players in this NBA draft, and quite ready to become an immediate starter and contributor for any team that takes him. The Cavs have plenty of scoring in the backcourt, but adding someone who can give them another dimension and a defensive presence they have lacked since LeBron James left.
Porter isn’t the complete package just yet, but he looks the most like it out of all the other high-end prospects. He does need to add some weight and becoming a bit more aggressive on the offensive end wouldn’t hurt him, but his draft-stock has been rising from a top 5 player to top 3 and potential number one recently.
Teams almost always take the big man, as the Greg Oden – Kevin Durant case from 2007 showed us. A lot of luck is involved, but in a league that doesn’t dictate you have a superstar in the paint – only a guy who can defend and rebound while the more talented players take care of things, being a little less conservative and taking the guy who can help you make the playoff now instead of in the future might be the wiser choice for the Cavs.