The 2013 NBA draft is mere hours away, thus leaving the basketball community in virtual disarray. While excitement and optimistic anticipation are undeniable feelings, this year's draft is as unpredictable as any in recent memory.
The question is, what's the latest buzz surrounding Nerlens Noel and the other top prospects in this year's draft class?
Virtually nothing is set in stone approaching the draft, including who will go No. 1 overall, which has the entire NBA community clamoring in anticipation. From questions about how the top five will shape up to doubts about which players will go in the first round, we've heard it all.
The question is, what's the latest buzz?
Knee Not an Issue for Noel?
Leading up to the 2013 NBA draft, Kentucky Wildcats shot-blocker Nerlens Noel has faced numerous questions and concerns. From his weight to his true position, all have called Noel's NBA future into question.
According to Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld.com, however, the fact that Noel tore his ACL during his freshman season is not a concern.
Nerlens Noel said Cavs, Magic and Wizards aren't worried about his knee. "They’ve said that my knee is 100% and perfectly fine," Noel said.— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) June 24, 2013
If that holds true, it changes everything.
Noel has the most defensive upside of any player in the 2013 NBA draft, pairing elite shot-blocking skills with the ability to step out on the perimeter. Whether he's blitzing the pick-and-roll or making his mark in the passing lanes, Noel does it all.
Even still, he may not go No. 1.
With mere days until the draft commences, no one has solidified their status as the top pick—not Noel, nor Alex Len.
McLemore vs. Oladipo
According to Chad Ford of ESPN Insider (subscription required), the Orlando Magic are choosing between shooting guard Ben McLemore and Victor Oladipo at No. 2 overall. Joe Kotoch of Sheridan Hoops confirms that report.
Both Ford and Kotoch are in accord that the Magic favor Oladipo over McLemore.
Per Ford, McLemore disappointed those in Orlando during his recent team workout. Kotoch reports that McLemore continues to slip down draft boards as he fields questions about his work ethic, while Oladipo continues to rise.
To truly throw a curveball, Ford states that Nerlens Noel is also in play.
While McLemore might have more pure upside, I continue to hear that Oladipo has the upper hand. McLemore was in Orlando last week, but according to multiple accounts, his workout wasn't terrific. Noel is a strong possibility, too, if he doesn't go No. 1 to the Cavs.
Has there ever been this much uncertainty with the top two picks?
Teams Pursuing Trades
According to Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio, the Charlotte Bobcats, Milwaukee Bucks and Orlando Magic are all considering draft day trades. Per Chad Ford of ESPN Insider (subscription required), the Cleveland Cavaliers and Dallas Mavericks are also interested in making deals.
As I said—nothing is set in stone.
The Bobcats and Bucks are interested in trading with each other, with the No. 15 overall draft choice as the focus in this instance. While it's unclear what the Bobcats would have to offer, it's quite unlikely that they'd offer the No. 4 draft choice in this instance.
Regardless of what's being offered, this will be an interesting pick to monitor.
The Cavaliers, Magic and Mavericks are all pursuing separate trades, but the common theme is that they'd like to move back in the draft. Cleveland and Orlando select first and second overall, while Dallas sits at No. 13.
Joe Kotoch of Sheridan Hoops reports that the Cavaliers and Mavericks are interested in swapping the No. 13 and No. 19 picks with Shawn Marion involved in the deal.
Regardless of what transpires, there will be no shortage of opportunities for teams to make trades. Not only are there multiple squads in the market for a trade, but there are players and trade pieces of note.
The 2013 NBA draft is going to be a memorable one.