NBA Draft: Cavs leaning toward Noel and Len, per Chad Ford

While the Cleveland Cavaliers may be inviting a handful of top-ranked win players to Independence for a workout, ESPN’s Chad Ford says that a pair of centers are the “early favorites” to be selected with the first-overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft.

The team is expected to host several non-centers to Independence on Wednesday, including Kansas shooting guard Ben McLemore and Georgetown small forward Otto Porter Jr. In a chat conducted on Wednesday afternoon, Ford says that while there are several players in the mix, odds are that the Wine and Gold add a big man to their stable come June 27, be it in the form of Kentucky’s Nerlens Noel or Maryland’s Alex Len.

“There’s more in the mix there,” said Ford, “but I think those two are the favorite.”

While the majority of mock drafts have had the Cavaliers selecting Noel, recent murmurs have added Len’s name into the mix for the No. 1 pick due to his offensive skill set and ability to play from the start of the season. Ford, however, is sticking to his guns and penciling the Cavaliers in for the flat-topped Kentucky product.

“Despite the Internet chatter, I don’t think it’s correct to say that the Cavs are leaning toward Len,” said Ford. “I think they’re using this week to evaluate everyone. Figure out who the best fit is and I think by early next week we’ll have a read on the favorite. To me it’s Noel until I hear otherwise from Cleveland and I’ve yet to hear otherwise.”

[Related: Top Pick Debate: No Clear Answer, But Several Theories To Rule Out]

 

  • wildrover4

    At this point, I’m leaning towards Porter. I don’t like the idea of taking an injured center no. 1. Even if he is healthy, Len could just as easily be the second coming of Zeller as Big Z. I wanted to go with McLemore but there have to be no red flags for a pick in position you already have filled. Porter would start, he would be good (probably not great), and he fills a need. It sucks to do that at No. 1 but the Cavs just cannot afford a bust right now. The can get a center in free agency. If push comes to shove, Grant just puts a $13 million offer sheet in front of Pec and Minn doesn’t match.

  • Lunch

    Another thought comes to mind about the Noel, Len debate. Some time ago, it was rumored (now debunked) that the Cavs had Len as their choice for their 1st pick. My question is what is the reason the Cavs wanted Len? To score? Keep in mind we still have Irving, Thompson, and Waiters. All of them, I feel, will improve offensively. Then if we sign a very good SF (Granger, Iguodala), This will likely push Len to become the fifth scorer on the team. The only set of skills that he can offer is what he can do on defense. Of which he’ll do a pretty good job. But guess who could have done a better job defensively in the middle?

    Chris Grant, make sure you look at everything before making your decision.

  • Harv 21

    Rarely re-post my comments, but since I just put this on what I thought was a stale thread …
    My first choice has been Otto but after amateur scouting Len video, color me muy impressed. Believe that health permitting this guy will be way better than Z ever was. I remember Z’s first year actually playing -Len’s arsenal and agility are way beyond that right now. Going out on a limb – if he develops his left hand to a moderate degree this guy’s upside is a Kevin McHale at the center position. And McHale was not this offensively advanced at 19 years old. The lowest floor is maybe Rick Smits if he is lazy or lethargic or won’t toughen up as he matures. And he never brings his hands down with the ball – gives me serious warm fuzzies. This guy has serious upside – can potentially be one of someone’s Big 3. If they take him because they think the ankle won’t be chronic I’ll be great with that.

  • JHop

    I completely agree. But then what would the frontcourt depth chart look like? Len at starting C and Thompson at starting PF with Zeller and Varejao at backup C and PF, respectively?

  • JHop

    At this point signing any top tier SF talent in free agency this offseason is a major major “if”. Our best bet would be Granger, but we’d have to overpay significantly for a player with a dubious injury history

  • BisonDeleSightings

    Zeller should be starting…in Canton.

  • Harv 21

    A deal is coming draft day or before, because the Cavs cannot draft 4 guys. If they draft a center at #1 I think one of the veteran big men you mentioned will be gone, we’ll be moving up from the #19 spot and we’ll be getting a veteran from elsewhere, maybe in a 3-team trade.

    Also, wanna say Chad Ford has no freakin idea who the Cavs will take. Even if one of Grant’s notoriously tight-lipped crew leaked to him (doubtful) the Cavs are meeting with and developing impressions of a bunch of other high picks right now. No one leaks that fast.

  • Vindictive_Pat

    And as we all know, Tyler Zeller is a bust. (sorry for the sarcastic response… couldn’t help myself after seeing him as the “floor”… we still have no idea how good he will be)

  • Ben Frambaugh

    “To me it’s Noel until I hear otherwise from Cleveland and I’ve yet to hear otherwise.”

    I think that he is basically admitting he doesn’t really know (in as much as an “expert” finds themself capable of doing so.)

  • Lunch

    Well, let’s say we don’t get a big name SF. Any leftover scoring opportunities would have to be spread between Len and Gee. That still may not be enough to show Len as a big scoring threat in this league, but it might help a little.

  • Ben Frambaugh

    Early on, I liked Len a lot…but the more I see, the less I actually like. He’s good in transition (but so is Noel). He developed a stress fracture after adding weight and playing a 2nd year of collegiate ball.
    But he has virtually no post game on offense…and so while his offensive game may look more advanced than Noel’s…the results weren’t all that pretty. He only averaged 2ppg more than Noel.

  • Harv 21

    His face-up game is as polished for a college center as I’ve seen in a long time. He has beautiful touch around the basket. His passing from the post is excellent. Biggest prob on post-up to me is not yet understanding his own new strength in forcing his will into deep position. And lack of left hand. But you don’t teach agility, or touch, or 7’4″ wingspan from a 7’1” height.

    He’s not a can’t miss, but having some of these attributes at 19 can portend greatness. No one has Noel’s explosiveness but If this guy is the risk they choose I think it’s a very good risk. For me, the biggest “if” about this guy is the ankle under the additional weight. But I don’t want to overreact just because we Clevelanders know a lerpy European who had a gazillion foot rebuilds and missed seasons at a time.

  • wildrover4

    Assuming Zeller gets to the level of better-than-average back-up center, it will be two years. Do you want to use the No. 1 pick on someone who three years from now might be a better-than-average starter? This is year three of the rebuild not year one. Porter and McLemore can help now. Drafting high-risk high-reward projects (with injury histories) is for the middle of the first and second rounds – not the No. 1 pick in the draft.

  • wildrover4

    Does he start this year and what does the time-line look like for his development from your perspective?

  • Vindictive_Pat

    I agree with all of that… just seemed like a shot at Zeller when there are other guys taken even higher who ended up as busts. Michael Olowakandi for example. Or everyone’s favorite European flop, Darco Milicic.

  • mgbode

    Kandi played 9 years
    Darko has played 10 years (and going)

    Really wish I had been 7′.

  • wildrover4

    It’s not a shot a Zeller. Zeller is who is he is and that is not a legitimate starting center in the NBA anytime soon. How many of those player do you want on your roster at once? It is important to remember that the number 1 pick in the draft gets paid well. I just think there comes a point where you have to stop drafting for potential that will not be realized two to three years down the road. For the Cavs that time is now. Otherwise, your team becomes one of those perpetual lottery teams (or worse a developmental team for the rest of the league).

  • wildrover4

    Avoid the debate and don’t draft either of them. Take Porter or McLemore.

  • Vindictive_Pat

    I think we’re kind of talking past one another. I agree with all of those points and will uptick them as they deserve it and will withdraw my knee-jerk response.

  • Vindictive_Pat

    Is this where we also list Ryan F-ing Hollins? Because I would like to do that. Oh and Kwame Brown!

  • wildrover4

    Thanks. Let’s just hope Grant reads the message boards.

  • wildrover4

    Favorite Ryan Hollins story. There was a scouting report on Hollins that read as follows:

    Upsides:
    (1) Large frame on a 7 foot body.

    Downsides:
    (1) He has no basketball skills.

  • Lunch

    Porter, maybe. McLemore, nope, unless the Cavs find a way to make Irving, Waiters and McLemore happy, especially Waiters.

  • Harv 21

    For sure he starts. There would be only 2 real centers on the roster – Len and Zeller. There’s Andy if he’s not traded – who can play center but is more like a power forward. And Tristan, who is also really a 4.

    Andy’s better off the bench now, for his energy and because he’s becoming increasingly fragile. Len is way better than Zeller was at end of last season, so I would think you have to start the #1 pick from the beginning. Unless his ankle is still ouchy. In which case Andy starts at the 5 again and Zeller fights for minutes. But as I said before, if they pick Len #1 I see a trade of one of the existing bigs.

  • Lunch
  • dwhit110

    Keep in mind Granger is under contract, so while most people assume that the Pacers would be willing to move him, it’s not as simple as just signing him.

  • Natedawg86

    I am 6’5 and glad I am no taller lol

  • mgbode

    I really do wonder what Dallas was asking for us to take Marion away.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    I could have flattened you like James Harrison but fearing a suspension from WFNY I let it go! Keep your head up tho.

  • Jay

    I think you spelled ‘Europe’ wrong.