Nerlens Noel of Kentucky is likely to be a high draft choice in the NBA selection process this summer and there might be some pressure on the Orlando Magic to take him regardless of what number the lottery gives them.
The prevailing logic might be for the Magic to go after the best available scorer but Noel provides a defensive source that could help the Magic get back to their days of keeping opponents under 100 points. The Magic could use more offense but their defense was extremely poor and the last thing they need to bring on the roster is a high-shooting player who doesn’t know what defense is all about. That’s where Noel comes into the picture.
As a freshman, Noel averaged 10.5 points and 9.5 rebounds per game. He also led the nation with 106 blocks in 24 games for 4.4 per outing. His shooting was fine from the floor at 59 percent. But his free throw shooting is a source of concern at 52.9 percent
Noel had 50 steals, which was the fifth highest in college basketball in a single season by a freshman.
His defensive credential is outstanding. But he did sustain a season ending knee injury, which should obviously be cause for concern.
But a healthy Noel could mean greatness in the NBA, especially from the defensive end. The Magic has to remember how poor its defensive play was and that it can’t stay that way. That’s why they should take Noel if he’s available when it’s time for Orlando to pick, and that includes if the Magic has the top selection.