We're going to operate under the assumption that Noel will declare for the 2013 NBA draft. Returning to Kentucky so he can miss his sophomore year anyway just doesn't make much sense, especially when you consider the strength of the 2014 class.
However, a team like the Charlotte Bobcats may not be able to wait another year, and that's not even factoring in the time it takes for Noel to develop as a player.
Others may just not want to risk an asset as valuable as a top-three pick on a player with a torn ACL.
Our gut says that Noel won't slip too far in this weak field, that someone will view him as a value pick after No. 1 overall.
Notes for the first round
Oklahoma City gets Toronto's first-round pick, which the Thunder acquired in the James Harden deal from Houston (originally acquired the pick in the Kyle Lowry trade).
If the Lakers miss the playoffs, their pick goes to Phoenix, which is something we anticipate.
Portland gives up a top-12-protected pick to Charlotte from the Gerald Wallace-Joel Przybilla trade in 2011.
The Atlanta Hawks receive Houston's top-14-protected pick, which they obtained from the Brooklyn Nets in dealing Joe Johnson.
Team needs were taken into account, although rosters are likely to change once June rolls around.
Stats current as of February 12, 2013.