NBA Rumors: Nerlens Noel still top draft option for Cavs


Though Georgetown’s Otto Porter and Maryland’s Alex Len are in the mix, the Cleveland Cavaliers are believed to have Kentucky center Nerlens Noel at the top of their board heading in to the June 27 NBA Draft. ESPN’s Chad Ford reports that Noel is considered the leader in the clubhouse due to a myriad of reasons.

“Cavs general manager Chris Grant and his staff spent more time than anyone watching Noel this season, according to Kentucky head coach John Calipari,” writes Ford. “In fact, Grant recommended the surgeon, Dr. James Andrews, that Noel used for his ACL surgery. The Cavs also lean heavily on advanced metrics, and those numbers, regardless of the system, strongly favor Noel.”

These items all corroborate with recent reports seen at WFNY as well as the statistical breakdown in the most recent edition of The Diff.

The items working against Noel, per Ford, are the player’s current listed weight (206 lbs.), his recent ACL surgery, and the recent statements made by team owner Dan Gilbert about not wanting to be in the lottery after the impending seasons.

“The weight issue is quickly becoming a non-issue,” says Ford. “Noel weighed in at 206 pounds at the draft combine, creating a bit of a furor. Calipari told me that Dr. Andrews actually recommended Noel lose weight to help speed up the ACL recovery. Calipari said Noel weighed 222 pounds when he was injured. Noel told me in Chicago the number was actually 228.”

If the 2013-14 postseason does in fact become the overriding priority, there is a growing suspicion that Grant would be forced to move the pick for NBA-ready talent who can help the team immediately upon acquisition.

[Related: The Diff: The stats behind drafting Nerlens Noel at No. 1]

  • Mark Nandor

    The free throw shooting is an issue. If you draft Noel (53% last year), especially with the intent of someday starting him next to Thompson (61% last year), probably going to be sitting your starting PF and C in crunchtime because of it. Better hope at least one of them improves.

  • Wow


  • Ben Frambaugh

    Well, Noel was better at FT last year than Thompson was his year in college. You can also say with all certainty that Thompson has improved every year on his FT shooting, despite playing significantly more minutes every year (to include his college stats.)
    And with Noel going through rehab, one of the things he can easily work on (without disrupting his rehab) is his FT shooting and shot mechanics in general.

  • Ben Frambaugh

    I would LOVE to have Marc Gasol on this team. For a big, he’s a good shooter, a great passer and of course, his defense is not to shabby either.

    I’d love to have Horford on the team too…but I think we’d have to way overpay for both guys.

  • Ben Frambaugh

    Thank you for that delightfully insightful post. I hope Chris Grant is able to come to WFNY and read this so that he can add it to his player evaluation.
    LOL – I am playing…and hope you don’t take that to heart. For real though, could you please at least articulate why no. You may find the counter arguments to be educational…or you may be able to provide further input (off of said counter arguments) that allow others to expand their opinions more. I’m pretty stubborn though. 😉

  • mgbode

    I don’t think Memphis would give up Gasol for anything we have.

  • dwhit110

    I wondered if that might be the case too, but Noel is just *so* much better than Thomas was defensively in college. He averaged more than an additional block and additional steal than Ty Thomas did in college.

  • dwhit110

    And don’t forget John Wall.

  • dwhit110

    Agreed that Marc Gasol’s ungettable. Gotta root for Dwight Howard to make Atlanta his new home, that could make Horford an actual possibility.

  • dwhit110

    I’d be pretty unhappy with a Len pick, because he seemed to have just as many shortcomings in his game in college as Noel did. If Chris Grant goes with McLemore or Porter, that’s one thing. Rolling the dice with Len would seem crazy.

  • @TheDeePagel

    For those of us who do NOT want Noel at no. 1 we should be happy to hear these rumors. Grant traditionally does the unexpected….it’s when we hear no rumors about the Cavs and Noel that we should worry.

  • Steve

    If Gilbert decides he needs to win next year instead of building a future, all hope is lost. I get taking Porter over Noel, but not just because you want a couple extra wins this year.

  • Wow

    Because I want some offense on the team. And I don’t want a player who can’t score and may not be ready til December.

  • Ben Frambaugh

    Offense on the team: The Cavs can always attempt to trade for Granger or Marion. Both are decent offensive options. They can also sign Dorrell Wright (a 3 and D guy at the SF position.) Add in Kyrie and Dion’s continued development (as well as TT’s) and you have more offense.
    As for the “ready til December” comment. That’s short sighted. We’re not just trying to win this year (and realistically, we’re not likely to win a championship this year anyways)…we’re looking at the long term impact of every signing/draftee. Besides, defense can very easily lead to offense. For instance, a shot blocked to a teammate (something Noel has a penchant for) leads to a lot of fast break opportunities. So do steals (something he was ridiculously good at for a Big.) As the block count gets higher, players are less likely to go to the Rim…meaning they’re taking more jumpers. They’re taking less efficient shots so they’re scoring less. By them scoring less, we don’t have as great a need for an offense (though I am all for having it.)
    Bringing him to set picks should help too…because he would be deadly in the PnR with either Kyrie or Dion (both guys capable of getting to the rack on their own and both are willing passers.)

  • Wow

    everyone is predicting he will be out for months. I would rather have Porter or trade the pick. What are your thoughts about the pick? By the way it’s nice to have a debate without name calling! :)

  • Ben Frambaugh

    Yes, he will be out for months. A few months on a rookie contract. Over the course of his contract, we will not miss those few months.
    My thoughts on the pick are that Noel is the no-brainer. You’ll find a much larger list of NBA basketball players who have come back from an ACL injury to those who did not (or at least, the only name I can come up with so far is Derrick Rose…and he’s been medically cleared since February iirc.) That’s why I said his injury concern is a short-sighted concern. I’m worried about beyond 2013-2014. Guys like Porter grade out somwhere between Luol Deng and Tayshaun Prince. That’s a great complimentary piece…but not who I want to spend my #1 on.
    As for trading the pick…anyone that would rather trade you picks (current or future) and players for the shot at Nerlens Noel…should you wonder why you wouldn’t just take Nerlens Noel.
    And yes, I would much rather have a debate than an argument (childish name calling, strawmen tactics, etc…) Thank you for maintaining the same.