Nerlens Noel Says He Should be the Top NBA Draft Pick

by May 27, 2013

Despite concerns about his knee holding him out until Christmas, Nerlens Noel still thinks he should be the number one selection in this summer’s NBA Draft. Per USA Today: “At Kentucky, Noel averaged 10.5 points on 59% shooting 9.5 rebounds and 4.4 blocks in 24 games. He tore the anterior cruciate ligament of his left knee on February 12, but he showed glimpses of greatness when he was healthy. He blocked 13.2% of opponents’ shots and for much of the year was on pace to break Davis’ NCAA record for most blocks in a season. The freshman performed well under pressure and thinks it prepared him for the next chapter of his life. […] Most scouts felt Noel had the most potential of any draft prospect before he was hurt, and when it happened, his stock didn’t drop much. Cleveland picked a center, Tyler Zeller, in the first round of last year’s draft, but 23-year-old Zeller doesn’t have Noel’s upside. Noel just turned 19 in April and is one of the few players in this class who could eventually become a star player. When Noel is asked if he can become one the league’s best players, there’s no hesitation. ‘I definitely feel that way,’ Noel said. ‘I know it will take a lot of work, but I definitely want to put the time and work in to be one of the top players in the NBA. That’s a dream come true and I’ll definitely take advantage of it so I definitely feel that I can become one of them and reach my full potential.’ Noel considers himself a defensive-oriented player. When he first started playing for a travel team as a child, he was only concerned with shutting down the opposition. In high school, he once blocked 22 shots in a single game. Growing up, he emulated Kevin Garnett because of his defense and intensity. ‘I definitely feel that I can be [the best defender in the league],’ Noel said. ‘I have to do a lot of work and make sure I bring it every night, but I think I can get there.’ Cleveland desperately needs interior defense since they averaged the second-fewest blocks in the NBA last season with just 4.07 per game. Noel would instantly help the Cavaliers in that category and he would join the team’s young core, developing alongside fellow lottery picks Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson and Dion Waiters. Noel doesn’t feel his injury should keep him from being the top pick. ‘I definitely feel that I’m still suitable for the [No. 1 pick],’ Noel said. ‘I’m 100% confident that I can not only get back to [where] I was at, but get stronger and come back better.'”