Nerlens Noel Would Benefit from Not Being No. 1 Selection
However, there is a strong possibility that fate awaits him. The athletic 7'0" center out of Kentucky has long been speculated as a strong contender for the No. 1 overall selection, and that is not diminishing as the draft approaches.
Check out this tweet by Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski:
The Cavaliers are choosing between Nerlens Noel and Alex Len at No. 1. If they pick Len, Noel could drop to Suns at No. 5.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) June 27, 2013
I certainly can't blame the Cavs for considering Noel at No. 1. In a draft that is lacking the elite talent, which makes for an obvious No. 1 selection, Noel's tremendous upside makes him a viable contender. Also, he would fill a need for a young interior presence on the youthful Cavs roster.
Who should Cavs take No. 1?
However, that doesn't change the fact that this would be a less than ideal fate for Noel.
As you are probably aware, Noel is attempting to return from a torn ACL.
This is going to slow down his acclimation to the NBA, as he is unlikely to be able to participate in the preseason or early stages of the regular season.
Understandably, it is hard for fans to patiently wait for the debut of a player taken No. 1 overall. Most are going to want instant signs of future domination. In other words, should Noel go No. 1, he will face pressure to return to the court as soon as possible.
Of course, fans won't just want him to make it onto the court, but produce once he is there. And this is not something Noel is in a good situation to accomplish.
While the defensive maestro has the length, he features a listed wingspan of 7'4", he doesn't have the bulk. He's checked in at just 219 pounds.
That is far too light for any player hoping to play center in the NBA. Until he adds strength and bulk, Noel is going to get bullied out of the paint with ease.
Considering he needs massive work on his jump shot, Noel will be extremely limited on offense. While he could still play smart defense and block some shots, we get back to the fact that his explosion will be limited as he returns from his knee surgery.
Noel needs time to recover from his injury, to safely add bulk and strength and to acclimate to the NBA.
If he can stay healthy and receive good coaching, he can develop into a force in the NBA. However, that growth will be stunted if he faces the unyielding pressure to instantly produce that accompanies being the No. 1 selection.
Noel would be far better off entering the league as a lower selection, while having the patient expectations that come with such a selection.
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