Magic Leaning Toward Noel at No. 2?
If the Cleveland Cavaliers decide to pass on Nerlens Noel with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, the Orlando Magic may swoop in and select the 19-year-old center with the No. 2 overall pick, according to sources close to the situation.
While the Magic have been exploring all of their options with the second selection, there are members of the front office who are pushing for Noel and the team has done an extensive amount of homework on the former Kentucky star. They have met with Noel multiple times – in Orlando and in Chicago at the NBA draft combine – and they have looked into his background and health.
Other options for the Magic at No. 2 are Ben McLemore out of Kansas, Victor Oladipo out of Indiana, Trey Burke out of Michigan and Otto Porter out of Georgetown among others. To get an idea of how the Magic are approaching this process, consider a recent report from Andy Katz of ESPN that indicated Orlando is also entertaining the possibility of selecting Cody Zeller out of Indiana with the second pick. The Magic have done their due diligence and considered every option.
Cleveland may decide to select Alex Len out of Maryland over Noel with the top overall pick for several reasons. Cavaliers assistant general manager Zydrunas Ilgauskas and player development coach Vitaly Potapenko are pushing for Len because they have some ties to the 7’1 prospect.
Also, there’s also a sense of urgency in Cleveland because the team wants to make the playoffs in the 2013-14 season, so bringing in a prospect who can contribute right away is important. The team has added four first-round picks in the last two years (Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson, Dion Waiters and Tyler Zeller) and now they want to start experiencing success.
While Len has been recovering from surgery to repair a partial stress fracture in his left ankle, he’ll be ready to play much sooner than Noel, who may be sidelined until December or January as he rehabs his torn ACL.
If both Cleveland and Orlando pass on Noel, the Washington Wizards are expected to take the big man at No. 3. That has been considered Noel’s floor throughout this process, which is why he only met with Cleveland, Orlando and Washington in the weeks leading up to the draft despite receiving interest from other franchises.
How would Noel respond if he doesn’t go No. 1?
“It definitely won’t be the end of the world,” Noel told HOOPSWORLD in a recent interview. “I mean, look at the past. Look at how many great players haven’t gone No. 1 and see what they’ve done with their careers. You can still become an All-Star and be successful. I mean, look at Carlos Boozer. He was a second-round pick. I mean, when you look at guys who went No. 2, you have Kevin Durant and a lot of other successful guys. If that happens, I’m just going to stay focused and use it as more motivation. I’m still going to be the player that I want to be. It’s all about your attitude and approach.”
via Alex Kennedy – HOOPSWORLD