From a guaranteed number one pick, it looks like more and more teams are starting to re-think the whole issue of Nerlens Noel being such a high prospect, with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Washington Wizards and Orlando Magic all looking at other players to use in the top 3.
Noel is visiting with the Washington Wizards, who are hoping they can break their NBA playoff drought next season, based on the improving ability of their backcourt and especially the fantastic season John Wall had once he returned from his injury. But who does Noel fit in?
He was still dragging his leg while visiting with the Wizards, and he probably won’t be back before December. This means he’s likely to sit behind Nene and Emeka Okafor, which might have been the plan in any case, considering that just like Okafor, his use is mostly defensive, and it could give him someone to learn from.
But if the Wizards want to win now, Noel isn’t the guy for them. Most of his points while at Kentucky (averaging 10.5) came through offensive rebounds and dunks. He’s a very raw offensive prospect, and until he puts on at least 10-15 more pounds on him (claims to be at 218 at the moment), it’s hard seeing him being a defensive force next season or at all.
So that’s why Anthony Bennett and Otto Porter have skyrocketed up the draft charts, but eventually, it all depends on the Cleveland Cavaliers. Sources suggest that the Wizards and Orlando Magic are hoping the Cavs take Noel with their first pick, making things a lot more simpler for them.
There are other names out there to end up in the top 3 – Trey Burke (although that could only be the Orlando Magic) or Victor Oladipo (once again, probably the Orlando Magic), but it seems everyone’s waiting to see where Noel ends up before they start making their moves.
The 19 year old center was going to be the undoubted number one if it wasn’t for his injury, but even without it, he seems like a less ‘sure-thing’ than Anthony Davis seemed to be coming out of college, and he was carrying every possible individual award along with him, including head coaches and GMs saying he was going to be the next Bill Russell.
No one is saying that about Noel, and suddenly, it looks like not falling even further and being only a “top 5” or “top 10” pick might be the best that he can hope for heading into 2013 draft.