With the NBA Draft just weeks away, Wiz of Awes will be doing a mock draft, which we’ll break down each pick for every lottery team, including the Washington Wizards.
1) Cleveland Cavaliers: Nerlens Noel, C, Kentucky
Basic Stats: 10.5 PPG, 9.5 REB, 1.6 AST, 4.4 BLK
For the second time in just three seasons, the Cleveland Cavaliers have won the NBA Draft Lottery and will have the privilege to pick first on June 27th.
Unlike in 2011 where the Cavaliers selected Kyrie Irving out of Duke University, this years NBA Draft doesn’t necessarily have a consensus number one overall pick. Regardless, I think the choice is fairly obvious. With Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters in the backcourt, the Cavaliers will look to solidify their frontcourt of the future by pairing up Tristan Thompson with Nerlens Noel.
There have been some reports claiming that the Cavaliers are interested in taking Georgetown’s Otto Porter Jr. with the number one pick, but at the end of the day, Nerlens Noel seems like the obvious choice. Although Noel wasn’t nearly the replacement for Anthony Davis Kentucky hoped he’d be, he still managed to become one the most highly coveted players in this past NCAA season.
Cleveland, who were the 27th worst defensive team in the NBA last season in terms of efficiency, obviously need to continue adding personnel to help them in that specific area. They rehired Mike Brown, who coached the Cavaliers for five years starting in 2005 until 2010, in order to improve their defense. Brown is obviously familiar with the Cavaliers, since he’s spent nearly 6 seasons coaching them in the past, and even won coach of the year in 2009. Brown, who is known as a defensive coach, will obviously help them improve defensively, but Cleveland still needs to add the talent to be successful on that side of the floor. Although Nerlens Noel isn’t a great offensive player, since he’s still pretty raw, his impact defensively will be made from day one. Noel won’t average nearly 5 blocks per game in the NBA like he did at Kentucky, but he’ll likely have the same impact as someone who alters shots and grabs rebounds, similar to Tyson Chandler.
The Cavaliers will certainly have to spend some time developing Noel, since his offensive capabilities are pretty limited at this point in his career. Noel uses his athleticism and length for the majority of his offensive contributions, most of them which come from lob situations or tip back dunks/layups. He has used his quickness to score some easy buckets in the past, but I don’t see how that will work in the NBA, especially since he still needs to put on weight to be effective at the upper level.
If Noel ever becomes a decent offensive player, he’ll probably have the chance to become an NBA All-Star in the future. Noel is just 19 years old and obviously still has room to grow. His defensive tenacity and ability to block shots will make him an impact player right from the start. I think if the Cavaliers surround Noel with the right coaching staff and manage to continue building through Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters, they’ll eventually climb out the hole they’ve been in since LeBron James left town.