2013 NBA Draft – #6: Nerlens Noel
With the sixth overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, the New Orleans Pelicans selected Nerlens Noel out of Kentucky.
Noel slipping all the way to No. 6 was one of the most surprising storylines of the draft, but then things got even more interesting after the pick was announced. Rather than staying in New Orleans, reports have indicated that Noel will be traded to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday and a first-round pick in 2014.
For awhile, it looked like 19-year-old center was going to join his good friend Anthony Davis on the Pelicans. Now, he’ll suit up alongside Philadelphia’s young core that includes Thaddeus Young and Evan Turner among others.
“I feel very good about that,” Noel said. “[The trade] shows how much confidence they have in me. I’m just really staying positive through this and looking to get down there and work hard.”
Many people predicted that Noel would be selected first overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers, but they shocked the world by picking Anthony Bennett. Noel expected to go much earlier than No. 6, as evidenced by the fact that he only worked out for the Cavaliers, Orlando Magic and Washington Wizards.
The Pelicans were said to be leaning toward Trey Burke out of Michigan, but their plan changed when Noel slipped to No. 6. Noel outside of the top five is incredible value and they realized that they could grab the big man and then trade him away to the highest bidder.
Noel is extremely raw and will need to develop offensively, but he has all of the tools to be successful including excellent athleticism and a 7’5 wingspan. He also has great instincts and timing – things you can’t teach – which is why he’s such a dominant interior defender.
The big man tore his ACL in February, but was averaging 10.5 points on 59 percent shooting from the field along with 9.5 rebounds and 4.4 blocks prior to his injury. In his lone season at Kentucky, he blocked 13.2 percent of shots, had a defensive rating of 81.9 and finished the season with a PER of 27.3.
Now, he’s joining a great situation in Philadelphia and all eyes will be on him to see if he can develop into one of this draft’s top players, as expected.
They’ve got a great organization there, too. I’m just staying positive about everything, definitely just working.