July 31, 2014

Scott Raab on the Browns prospects, Indians playoff run and the end of Tebow – WFNY Podcast – 2013-09-02

WFNY Podcast LogoAs I’ve been doing the last few weeks, I’m passing on writing notes as the podcast goes along so that I can be “in the moment.” So, here’s the email I sent to Scott on Sunday night that sparked the rest of the podcast.

———————

Tebow is cut. Nobody makes a waiver claim. Is the NFL finally free of Tim Tebow? More importantly, we know Bill Belichick is great, but can we stop pretending like he can turn dog poop into gold? He has a track record of finding good players and finding ways to use them to their maximum. He’s never been known for taking non-players and doing anything with them other than cutting them… which is what he did to Tebow yesterday.

Good news! Buster Skrine rose up and won the second cornerback job opposite Joe Haden. Maybe these guys know what they’re doing, but they’ve really left their chins open on this one if Buster get burned early and often this season.

Same with kicker. I got a Facebook message from a friend who went into his fantasy draft and took Shayne Graham because USA Today had him rated as the fifth best fantasy option at kicker. Apparently not so much for the Browns who still don’t have a kicker after having a punter kick field goals in the fourth pre-season game. [Read more...]

NBA Draft Rumors: Cavaliers down to Len or Noel, but still open to trade

Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski reports that the Cleveland Cavaliers have narrowed their choice to centers Alex Len and Nerlens Noel.

While players like Otto Porter, Victor Oladipo, Ben McLemore and Anthony Bennett have all had their time in the sun as the rumor du jour for the Cavs, Len and Noel have been the most consistent two names mentioned for Cleveland since they won the draft lottery.

Conversely, ESPN’s Chad Ford thinks that the Cavaliers could end up trading whoever they pick at #1.

“The Cavs’ top option is to trade the No. 1 overall pick for a combination of a veteran plus a 2014 lottery pick,” writes Ford. “If they can pull that off, they’ll move the pick. If they can’t, they’ll keep attempting to move whoever they draft until all their options have been exercised. In other words, don’t assume that they are keeping who they draft at No. 1.” 

[Related: WFNY Roundtable: Talking Cavs and the 2013 NBA Draft]

The Diff: 2013 NBA Mock Draft Database

The Diff is your weekly Wednesday WFNY look into the amazing world of sports statistics. For a complete log of articles, click this link. Last week’s article covered the makings of the 2014 Cleveland Indians rotation. This week, it’s back to the draft.

The Diff

This is not my first rodeo in talking about the 2013 NBA Draft class. For reference, you can look back at my WFNY articles in January, early March, late March, April and then mid-June. This has been an exhaustive process, but one that can always be handled with a few more stats. That’s the subject of today’s edition of The Diff: I’ve looked at 40 recent mock drafts from around the Internet and I’m here to share the results with what they mean for the Cleveland Cavaliers’ potential plans tomorrow. This activity will help to determine projected draft tiers and availability at different slots in the draft’s first round. [Read more...]

2013 NBA Draft – All you need to know about the Cavs from Joe Kotoch – WFNY Podcast – 2013-06-25

WFNY Podcast LogoI was very happy to be able to get Joe Kotoch to join me a few days before the NBA draft. You should know Kotoch from his website ProBasketballDraft.com and also his work at SheridanHoops.com and his twitter account @probballdraft.

  • Joe Kotoch and where he came from
  • Sports law and agency work
  • ProBasketballDraft.com and their mission
  • NBA fans getting better at looking at the draft analytically instead of emotionally
  • Chris Grant and his ability to keep his secrets this year
  • Teams typically don’t play games with the first pick
  • The Cavaliers want to trade the pick, but they can’t get anyone to pay their price
  • Should the Cavaliers be keeping the price this high?
  • Can the Cavs get LaMarcus Aldridge?
  • Can the Cavs get Shawn Marion or Paul Pierce?
  • The CBA, salary cap and luxury tax
  • The Miami Heat and their incentive to trade Chris Bosh
  • Kevin Durant and the agency switch?
  • Jay-Z, Rich Paul and CAA
  • Does Kevin Durant’s place in OKC seem in doubt now?
  • What do rookies choose when they pick agents coming out of college?
  • What was behind all the negativity surrounding Nerlens Noel?
  • College players and their winking side deals
  • How scary is the representation to a guy like Chris Grant?
  • Do the Cavs think they should be further along in their own development?
  • The Cavaliers keeping Jamahl Mosely who developed Tristan Thompson
  • Can the Cavaliers count on Anderson Varejao?
  • Would anything in this draft shock you three years from now?
  • The Cavaliers and 2014 [Read more...]

Are the Cavaliers on the verge of making a huge mistake?

Charlie DeBoyace/The Diamondback

Charlie DeBoyace/The Diamondback

As the Cavaliers close in on draft night, now just two nights away, it seems options are narrowing. As they should. When you have the No. 1 pick, you have the luxury of not having to do near as much contingency planning. You control your own destiny, so as draft night approaches, you should more or less have a pretty good idea what you are going to do.

As with any draft, all media speculation should be taken with as much caution as possible. I’ve written about this plenty before, but when it comes to the NFL and NBA draft, front offices love to leak information that sometimes isn’t 100 percent accurate. This is why we seemingly have contradicting reports of Nerlens Noel vs Alex Len. A lot of it depends on where the info is coming from, and why these sources want to leak this information in the first place.

But is there really a chance the Cavaliers will take Alex Len with the #1 overall pick? And if so, would it be one of the biggest mistakes this franchise could make? [Read more...]

All signs point to the Cavs selecting Nerlens Noel, per ESPN’s Chad Ford

Chad Ford isn’t buying into the noise. While Maryland’s Alex Len has worked his way into many conversations to be selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers with the No. 1 pick, Ford is sticking to his initial inclination that, once on the clock, Chris Grant will select Kentucky’s Nerlens Noel.

In one of his latest blog entries, Ford lays out his logic as to why he feels the flat-topped shot blocker will be the No. 1 pick:

  • Noel told Louisville’s Courier-Journal on Sunday that the Cavs’ lead doctor, Dr. Richard Parker, had medically cleared him. I’ve had that confirmed by several sources. The Cavs have no serious issues with his knee.
  • The Cavs are stressing that they’re taking the best talent available, regardless of team needs or development curve.
  • The Cavs believe that given the strength of their roster, it’s unlikely that they’ll draft a starter. They believe their core of Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters, Tristan Thompson and Anderson Varejao is better than anyone they could draft at No. 1. They also believe that while they have a huge hole at small forward, they’ll use their cap space to find a veteran small forward to fill that hole. Regardless of who they draft, he is likely coming off the bench.
  • That means the Cavs are less likely to focus on which prospect will have the greatest impact now. They are free to take the player they think will be better down the road.
  • If history is any guide, the Cavs have a proven track record of taking young, less experienced prospects that show big upside.
  • They also have selected players that have, historically, graded out strongly in the various analytic measures they employ. Irving, Thompson and Waiters all ranked very highly by virtually every analytical tool.

This method of thinking, while sound, conflicts with recent local reports that consider Len to be the selection, and Noel considered to be the “surprise” if taken. Len, a legit 7-footer with a more developed offensive game, was first linked to the Cavaliers back on June 15. Suffering a severe foot injury, he was once considered to be a lottery pick at best.

Meanwhile, Noel has seen his name stay atop many mock drafts despite recent rumors surrounding his allegedly ahead-of-schedule rehabilitation as well as the friends with whom he surrounds himself. The 19-year-old Noel has recenty been given the clearance of his knee being “100 percent fine.” Though a project on offense, many consider the Kentucky product to be the most defensively-stout big man in the draft, an area that was easily the biggest weakness for the Cavaliers who ranked dead last in the NBA in opponent field goal percentage (.476) in 2012-13.

[Related: The Worst Case Scenarios for the Cavs’ Offseason]

The Worst Case Scenarios for the Cavs’ Offseason

I keep searching for "Your favorite basketball team using the first overall pick on a European center with stress fractured feet" but nothing comes up.

I keep searching for “Your favorite basketball team using the first overall pick on a European center with stress fractured feet” but nothing comes up.

This upcoming NBA offseason is the most important offseason the Cavs have had since that guy from Akron left.  They hired a new coach, they have four picks in Thursday’s draft and they have a whopping $19 million in capspace that could be used to entice both potential free agents and potential trading partners (the Cavs could take back a bad contract or two to grease the wheels on a trade).

I don’t know what the Cavs are going to this offseason. No one does.

Oh, there are rumors. Paul Pierce? A trade with Dallas? Could they buck the experts and take Alex Len over Nerlens Noel? What about signing Greg Oden? And what about free agents? With $19 million available, the Cavs have room to sign just about any player they pleased.

The possibilities are practically endless.

However, endless possibilities also includes possible mistakes. Just because a team has a lot of caproom doesn’t mean they have to spend it. It’s one thing if you use to capspace to sign LeBron, Wade and Bosh. It’s quite another if you use it to sign Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva.

So I’m a little worried. The Cavs have stated that they don’t want to be in the lottery next season, so that means they’re looking to Win Now. Which is good! I’m ready for some meaningful basketball games. But sometimes a win now move can backfire down the road. Sometimes that money just burns a hole in your pocket.

Here are four things that I do not want the Cavs to do this offseason.

[Read more...]

NBA Rumors: Would be a “shock” if Noel goes No. 1

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.

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.

[Related: Alex Len Film Room].

2013 NBA Finals, 2013 NBA Draft, Heat, Spurs, Cavaliers thoughts with Brendan Bowers – WFNY Podcast – 2013-06-20

WFNY Podcast LogoAmazingly enough I hadn’t caught up with Brendan Bowers on the podcast since I relaunched it. So, today I finally did. We talked about the game seven happening tonight in Miami. We talked about the draft and what the Cavaliers should really be focused on as they head into 2013/14.

  • The 2013 NBA finals and what the subtext is
  • The storylines in the game for Cleveland
  • Watching the two very best teams in the NBA right now
  • Could the NBA benefit from a shorter schedule?
  • Spreading the game out to 50 games
  • Does the game come down to the three point shot tonight?
  • Does it just come down to the supporting casts?
  • Manu Ginobili was awful in game six and great in game five
  • What do you think of the referee storyline with Joey Crawford
  • Should Joey Crawford have ever reffed game six?
  • LeBron James can set the tone at times without stuffing the stat sheet
  • 2013 NBA draft and what the Cavaliers should do
  • Bowers took Otto Porter
  • The healthy relationship that the Cavs fans and media have with the draft process now
  • The Cavs overvaluing the #1 pick in trade talks according to rumors
  • What are you looking for the Cavs to achieve should they trade the pick?
  • In his third year Kyrie Irving deserves a chance to make the playoffs
  • Are we looking at risking the maturity of the roster or are we risking Kyrie Irving leaving Cleveland?
  • The sense of urgency to the sense of patience [Read more...]

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]

 

NBA Draft: Cavs to host McLemore, Porter, Oladipo and Franklin

The Cleveland Cavaliers will reportedly play host to a slew of wing players on Wednesday. Andy Katz of ESPN reports that Chris Grant will hold a workout for Kansas’ Ben McLemore, Georgetown’s Otto Porter Jr., Indiana’s Victor Oladipo and San Diego State’s Jamaal Franklin.

The four players will provide one of several workouts that the Cavaliers are reportedly holding as the team hosted injured UNLV power forward Anthony Bennett earlier this week, and will host both Kentucky’s Nerlens Noel and Maryland’s Alex Len on Thursday and Friday, respectively. While individual visits have lost their luster over the years as agents have held players from participating, it was at this type of visit where current Cavaliers power forward reportedly Tristan Thompson impressed the front office so much that they used the fourth-overall selection on him in 2011.

The Cavaliers currently hold the first, nineteenth, thirty-first and thirty-third picks in the upcoming draft. They are widely considered to be selecting one of the centers first overall, but recent reports say that no decision has been made by the Cavs’ front office at this point. The draft is set for June 27.

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

2013 NBA Draft: Nerlens Noel rumored to have “epic bad dudes” around him

There may be massive questions surrounding Nerlens Noel and the people with whom he’s associating with as the NBA draft draws near. In a podcast with Bill Simmons, Ryen Russillo wondered aloud who would end up writing the article on the topic, but it seems to me he just broke the news.

“I think the Noel thing is the most interesting,” Russillo said of the 2013 NBA draft. Russillo expounded “He has, by all reports if you start digging a bit deeper on this – and I don’t know who is going to end up writing this story – but he has some like epic bad dudes with him.”

The rest of the story is that he hasn’t signed with an agent, he’s been a serial appointment breaker with business people including multiple agents, Clevelander Rich Paul and the infamous World Wide Wes.

Combine that information and the well-known injury questions surrounding the young athlete, and it seems less surprising when there are rumors about Noel dropping down draft boards, including the one being operated by Chris Grant and the Cavaliers.

Of course, maybe there’s more to the story. Certainly a kid rebuffing agents and business managers in the NBA is going to draw attention and cause negative stories in the media. Who else is going to source more stories in the media other than the many managers and agents who pepper the landscape of the NBA? But maybe there’s a real cause for concern too.

You can bet all this and more is factoring into the Cavaliers decision-making process for this year’s draft. We’ll just have to wait, see and judge all this on the back end unless someone really figures it out through an exhaustive reporting process into Nerlens Noel’s “handlers” whomever they might be.

I recommend the entire podcast to Cavs fans, by the way. There were some juicy trade scenarios as Simmons and company like to play with.

[Related: Scott Raab part 2 on 2013 NBA Draft, Michael Irvin, Joe Thomas, Mike Polk, Danny Green – WFNY Podcast – 2013-06-17]

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

porterOver the last couple weeks, I’ve been camped out in the Cavalier NBA Draft Film Room. I’ve covered Nerlens Noel, Otto Porter, Ben McLemore, Alex Len, and Victor Oladipo Friday. Anthony Bennett is still to come later this week. Over that time, we’ve had a lot of good discussion here at the site about who your favorite to grab with the top pick is and why. It’s not so much the “who” that interests me today as much as the “why”. The reasons for taking a guy at the top spot run the gamut from fit to potential to floors to ceilings to immediate impact and so on and so forth. Let’s examine some of the more common thoughts processes going around the web right now.

First, there’s the notion that you rule a player out because he can’t help you the most this season. I think most people can understand that this one is pretty absurd as a standalone argument. Dan and Nick Gilbert may have made a proclamation about not being back at the draft lottery next season, but I don’t think that will force them to take the wrong guy simply for short term gratification.  However, I DO think that with Mike Brown back to put the emphasis on defending along with the continued improvement from the young core of Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters, and Tristan Thompson coupled with the return of Anderson Varejao and the likely addition of some veteran bench pieces via free agency, that the team SHOULD expect to make the playoffs this season. I don’t think many have any surreal visions of being in the conference finals next year, but should they be able to win 38 or 40 games to sneak in as the eight seed next year? Why not? This team, when it was going good last season, was 15-15 over a thirty game stretch. The notion that such a “plan” rules out Nerlens Noel as the top selection is ludicrous. Noel may not be at the top of my board, but him not being available until Christmas has nothing to do with that. [Read more...]

NBA Draft Rumors: Cavaliers could by shying away from Noel at No. 1

The Cleveland Cavaliers could be souring on the potential selection of Kentucky center Nerlens Noel. A report from the Louisville Courier-Journal uncovered a fractured growth plate which was sustained during the potential top pick’s sophomore year in high school. Bob Finnan of the News-Herald reports, via a league source, that several teams are shying away from the risk involved in selecting the center. Finnan could not confirm that the Cavaliers are in fact one of them.

In a report last week, famed surgeon Dr. James Andrews stated that Noel was ahead of schedule in the rehabilitation from an ACL injury suffered this past February.

“We’re really happy with his progress,” Andrews told ESPN. “He’s several weeks ahead of schedule on his rehab. He’s improving on a weekly basis. He has a completely stable knee. The bone plugs are completely healed into the bone. His muscle and weight is returning. He has had no setbacks at all.”

Andrews added that any team which does select the shot-blocking big man would have to go slowly if they wanted him to get back to the level he was prior to the injury. It is believed that Noel will not be ready to play in an NBA contest until the holiday season, if at all. In his latest mock draft, FOX Sports Ohio’s Sam Amico also hinted that the Cavaliers are starting to pump the breaks on the 19-year-old who is largely considered to be the consensus first-overall selection.

[Related: Cleveland is merely the starting point in the Danny Green story]

The Diff: Cleveland futility, NBA Draft and Indians streak

The Diff is your weekly Wednesday WFNY look into the amazing world of sports statistics. For a complete log of articles, click this link. Last week, The Diff provided an update on the various top Cleveland Indians prospects. This week, I’m covering three varying Cleveland sports topics.

The Diff

WFNY Mentality

Back in September, I wrote a lengthy article about the worst three-season stretches in Cleveland sports history. The formula was simple: I looked at the longest continuous stretches of last-place finishes for the Cavaliers, Indians and Browns, when all three were active. Barely, by just 2 games over Minnesota, the 2012 Indians stopped a city-record three consecutive last-place streak from occurring. But how do things stack up in using a different approach to Cleveland sports futility? [Read more...]

NBA Rumors: Cavs high on Maryland’s Len

Bob Finnan of The News Herald wrote Sunday of the Cavaliers’  love for Maryland center Alex Len. The 7’1″ Ukrainian dazzles scouts with his size and skill and is drawing comparisons to former Cavalier center and current front office employee, Zydrunas Ilgauskas.

“I watched him while I was growing up,” Len said. “He’s really famous overseas. He played in Cleveland for almost 15 years.

“I like his style of play. He has good size. He can step out and shoot. It’s similar to my game.”

Like Ilgauskas and many other 7 footers before him, Len has some injury concerns with his feet. Currently Len is rehabbing from a stress fracture in his right ankle which is prohibiting the big man from participating in pre draft workouts.

“It’s hard. You want to be out there and show scouts what you can do. It sucks to not be out there.”

After a disappointing freshman season at Maryland, Len picked up the pace in his sophomore year. While his averages of 11.9 points and 7.9 rebounds aren’t anything to write home about, Len completely dominated Kentucky’s Nerlens Noel in their only meeting.

Len scored 23 points with 12 rebounds and 4 blocks, while holding Noel to 4 points, 9 rebounds, and 3 blocks as Kentucky edged Maryland 72-69. It’s flashes like this that have scouts and even Len himself, salivating over his upside.

“I have the biggest upside in this draft among the big guys,” he said. “Maybe 10 years from now, I’ll be the best player in this draft.”

With no clear cut choice for this year’s number one pick, it’s not out of the realm the Cavs would reach and take Len at one. In the previous two drafts Chris Grant surprised everyone by selecting Dion Waiters and Tristan Thompson, two players who had been barely been linked to the Cavaliers through the pre draft process.

[Related: Cavalier NBA Draft Film Room: Alex Len]

While We’re Waiting…Trading for Aldridge, scouting Desmond Bryant, and more thoughts on attendance

“While We’re Waiting” serves as the early morning gathering of WFNY-esque information for your viewing pleasure. Have something you think we should see? Send it to our tips email at tips@waitingfornextyear.com.

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“If Portland was ever going to trade Aldridge, they’d be sure to get the best return possible for him, as they should. If a trade with Cleveland was ever going to happen, Portland would undoubtedly insist on getting that pick (with other assets included as well) in exchange for their star big man. The reputation of this year’s draft gives Portland more leeway in trade negotiations. If the first overall were available, then that’s when trading Aldridge becomes an idea for management to consider.

As good as Aldridge is, he’s 28 next month. Damian Lillard and Nicolas Batum are 22 and 24 respectively, and their best years lie ahead of them. Aldridge will be on the wrong side of 30 when they hit their prime. Could the Blazers conceivably be a contender with an aging Aldridge? I’m hesitant to say yes, and it would require a lot more depth than what they have now. It’s hard to imagine them rising to that level.

By flipping Aldridge for young assets such as center Nerlens Noel via the first overall pick and one of Tristan Thompson/Dion Waiters, the Trail Blazers could add a bunch of good young players that can all reach their prime at once. Flipping Aldridge for two players also helps with the problem of depth, and from what we have seen so far, Lillard seems like a mature enough figure to replace Aldridge as a leader. Throw in some veteran leadership, some complimentary role players (and while very raw, Meyers Leonard is still a very nice asset to have alongside the other young players), and there you have a foundation that could be better to work with.” [Yeung/Rip City Project]
[Read more...]

Dr. James Andrews: Team that drafts Nerlens Noel ‘has to go slowly’

With the NBA draft less than a month away Nerlens Noel’s injured knee is in the spotlight. The odds on favorite to be selected by the Cavaliers with the first overall pick is in the middle of a strenuous rehab process after tearing his ACL back in February.

Noel’s surgeon, Dr. James Andrews spoke with ESPN and painted a realistic picture of what to expect from Noel’s recovery.

“Whoever gets him has to go slowly with him,” Andrews said. “It’s going to take him a while to get back to the level he was before he was injured.”

While knee injuries aren’t career threatening as they have been in years passed, it is still a tall order for a basketball player to make a full recovery from a torn ACL. Look no further than Derek Rose.

Despite the severity of the rehab process, Andrews is happy with Noel’s progress.

“We’re really happy with his progress,” Andrews told ESPN. “He’s several weeks ahead of schedule on his rehab. He’s improving on a weekly basis. He has a completely stable knee. The bone plugs are completely healed into the bone. His muscle and weight is returning. He has had no setbacks at all.”

Noel’s trainer, Kevin Wilk, echoed Andrews’ excitement in how far Noel has come.

“He’s well ahead of schedule,” he said. “He’s now out on the court for about an hour doing free shooting. He’s running in the pool. I don’t know too many guys who could do that at this stage.”

It has been speculated that Noel would not be able to return to full game action until next December which would be ten months since the top prospect tore his knee. Despite the injury Noel is still the consensus choice among mock drafts for the Cavs at the number one.

[Related: Cavalier NBA Draft Film Room: Nerlens Noel]

2013 NBA Draft, LeBron James, Trent Richardson, Asdrubal Cabrera and more with Dennis Manoloff – WFNY Podcast – 2013-06-04

WFNY Podcast LogoI tracked down Dennis Manoloff to talk about some injuries. That was Asdrubal Cabrera, Trent Richardson and the 2013 NBA draft. That morphed into a conversation at the end about LeBron James, of course.

  • Asdrubal Cabrera’s injury and just how bad it is

  • Cabrera’s toughness and wanting to power through the injury

  • Is the sense of panic lessened by Terry Francona?

  • Inconsistent offense, a scuffling bullpen and a rotation without an ace

  • This is a different club than the ones of the last two years

  • Can the Tribe hang with the Tigers for the whole season?

  • Baseball isn’t a plug and play statistics league

  • The rainout and whether or not everyone handled it well

  • The philosophy of MLB to want to play games at that hour of the morning

  • Trent Richardson and how much of a concern it is

  • Richardson has never been healthy as a Cleveland Browns player

  • Will Norv Turner mitigate the risks of Trent Richardson with utilization of other backs?

  • Should the Cavs trade the pick or which players are exciting out there?

  • Ben McLemore and how exciting he is to watch

  • Being attractive to LeBron James

  • Setting yourself up with cap space to be a player in 2014 regardless

  • LeBron needs to win three rings to set up Cavs return [Read more...]

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]