Torn ACL and all, Nerlens Noel has been the presumed top pick in the 2013 NBA Draft from the moment the Cleveland Cavaliers won the lottery. Whether it’s because of a potential setback in Noel’s rehab or a closer examination of his one season at Kentucky, a potential marriage between Noel and Cleveland is losing traction.
In fact, it appears another injured big man, Alex Len, has nudged Noel from the top spot. With a pressing need for back court help and double-double machine Nikola Vucevic manning the block, the Orlando Magic may not be a landing spot for Noel. This makes it highly possible that Noel will be available when the Washington Wizards select third, putting Washington in an enviable position.
In this scenario, Washington would be presented the chance to draft the player with the most defensive upside (Noel), offensive upside (Anthony Bennett) and the most complete game (Otto Porter) in this year’s draft.
While this is a dilemma even Wizards GM Ernie Grunfeld couldn’t possibly mess up, it surely would throw a wrench in the Wizards’ draft strategy with only a week to go before draft night. The draft trade scenarios presented to Cleveland when Noel was the presumed target now may be presented to Washington. Furthermore, Washington has to leave every x-ray unturned in examining Noel’s knee.
With so much to do in so little time, Washington may have a problem vetting every scenario. Nonetheless, it’s a problem many teams would kill for and a problem Grunfeld better solve, for his job’s sake.