With the NBA draft only a few days away, it’s looking more and more likely that the Cavs won’t be taking Kentucky big man Nerlens Noel. In his Sunday notes column, the Plain Dealer’s Terry Pluto says if the Cavs take a big man, it’ll be Maryland’s Alex Len and Pluto would be shocked if Noel was the pick.
1. For weeks, I have been writing that the Cavs are looking hard at other players besides Nerlens Noel at No. 1, and nothing has changed on that front. Noel scares them because of the knee issues, along with concerns about his absolute lack of offense. Two knee surgeries in four years for a player who is only 18 should be a major warning siren. It would be a shock if they made him their No. 1 pick.
2. If the Cavs draft a big man, it will be Maryland center Alex Len. He’s 7-1, 255 pounds and looks and moves like an NBA center. He’s 21, but has a stress fracture in his foot. Maybe he’ll be fine, but big men with stress fractures in their feet are a worry. Cavs fans remember the ordeal of Zydrunas Ilgauskas.
3. At Maryland, Len led the Atlantic Coast Conference in blocks (2.2 per game), but only averaged 7.8 rebounds and 11.9 points as a sophomore. He had some big games against Kentucky (23 points, 12 rebounds vs. Noel) and North Carolina (20 points), but will he become more than just a decent NBA big guy? Noel fans can say their man averaged 10.5 points, and Len was at 11.9. Neither played for teams with strong guards. But most NBA teams believe Len has more potential to become a low-post scorer because of his size.
The News Herald’s Bob Finnan reports that Len was in Cleveland both Thursday and Friday and that the Cavs are considering him at No. 1.
Over the past couple weeks, Len, 21, has emerged as a candidate for the Cavs with that top pick. The Sheridan Hoops mock draft has the Cavs taking the Maryland center and Yahoo’s Alex Kennedy tweeted that both Z and new front office member Vitaly Potapenko are pushing for the young man from Ukraine.
Alex Len to Cleveland has legs. Cavs are considering him at No. 1. Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Vitaly Potapenko among others are pushing for Len.
— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) June 23, 2013
The seems like that the combination of Noel’s injuries and his raw offense game have turned off the Cavs and it looks like Len’s ability to play both sides of the court is a big reason that he could go first.