Tag Archives: Nerlens Noel

Your 2018 Eastern Conference Champions…

This article is dedicated to myself for giving my heart and soul to the Sixers even though I’ll be getting nothing in return for a couple years. Also, to the recently released Sixer Chris Johnson, because we all know he never had a shot…pour one out for the homie.

Flashback to Draft Night 2013

The Philadelphia 76ers are coming off an abysmal and disappointing season which ended in the firing of head coach/broadcaster extraordinaire Doug Collins and the release of President and acting GM Rod Thorn. We legit had Thorn running this team in the front office and Doug Collins slowly dissipating any chemistry left on the floor. What’s even more absurd is that as a fan, this duo was actually creating a sense of optimism for the franchise the previous two years. Seems silly right?

Oh yeah, one more thing. We had that whole Andrew Bynum trade really not work out in our favor. We dealt our franchise player (if you can call Andre Iguodala one) as well as the walking double-double Nikola Vucevic. I absolutely was in love with Vucevic when he was a Sixer, such a rare type of talent at the center position, and Doug Collins didn’t even put his ass on the floor during the playoffs. Sorry, just letting out some frustration. I think throughout this article you’ll notice I will do that. As a Sixers fan releasing pent up negative energy in a healthy way is step one in the twelve steps to admitting you’re a Sixers fan.

To sum this digression up: Andrew Bynum while with the Sixers played 0 games and averaged 0 points, 0 rebounds, and 0 blocks per game. In comes the dark and mysterious figure that is general manager Sam Hinkie. To be honest, I knew very little about Hinkie when he was hired as GM. I knew he came from the Rockets organization and he was very into analytics. He also wasn’t Rod Thorn so Hinkie had that going for him. I was on board.

So back to Brooklyn and the Barclays Center. Typically an NBA franchise that has recently fired their head coach hires a new one before an important event like the draft. But obviously the Sixers are no typical franchise with Hinkie at the helm. Sam Hinkie legitimately didn’t care who the future coach would be; this draft was all his. Now obviously the Sixers ownership is involved, but they have basically given Hinkie the only keys to the castle. He makes every decision and the only one that he answers to is god; and even god is like “dude, whatever you gotta do to make this Sixers team competitive is alright with me…”

The Sixers roster before the draft featured a bunch guys with mediocre skills. It was non-descript to say the least. But we had one silver lining and that was 23 year old All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday. He seemed like a legit building block and a guy Hinkie would be able to put pieces around and go forward wi…..and he’s gone! While everyone was salivating at the prospect of Anthony Davis and Nerlens Noel playing alongside each other in New Orleans and blocking around 35 shots a game, Hinkie was behind closed doors dealing for the injured Kentucky product (Noel) as well as a future first round pick.

There was a lot of discrepancy in the reporting of this deal during draft night. While all of the facts were being sorted out, the Sixers were on the clock and had selected Syracuse point guard and future rookie of the year Michael Carter-Williams, aka MCW, aka “the Sultan of Steals”, aka “the Prime Minister of Passing” (none of these other nicknames have stuck like MCW unfortunately). After the selection of MCW this basically confirmed that Jrue Holiday was on the move. I had trouble wrestling with this new direction Hinkie was steering us in. But the team was going nowhere and had zero shot of winning anything with just Jrue Holiday, and while the concept of bottoming out and possibly getting Andrew Wiggins or Jabari Parker was appealing, it was a long way away from next year’s draft.

MCW-and-Noel

By the end of the night I was on board and fully immersed in what I refer to as “Hinkieball”. It’s like “moneyball” except completely different and not involving baseball. Hinkie had completely changed the course of the franchise for the better in about 15 minutes. 15 minutes! That’s a fourth of an episode of Homeland! Hinkie moved Jrue Holiday for what would have been the #1 overall pick if healthy (Noel) and a top three protected first rounder next year from the Pelicans in addition to completely overhauling the cap situation. At the end of the 2013-14 season they had an astounding $36 million available. Teams would kill for a cap situation this good. Literally, Mitch Kupchak would go out on a murdering spree in LA right now to give the Lakers just half as good a cap situation as Hinkie has gotten for the Sixers.

So finally the 2013-14 season is upon us. Sixers fans are ready for the tanking extravaganza to begin. We have our several boxes of tissues to wipe away tears that we were to experience in the upcoming months. We also have our slop buckets to collect all the vomit induced from the sickening feeling of watching Evan Turner and Spencer Hawes take a combined 50 shots a game. I actually want you to keep reading so I’m not going to go into actual detail about the Sixers 2013-14 season.

2013 sixers

Here are the highlights:

  • We beat Miami in the season opener and MCW locked up the rookie of the year award on day one of the season. (Editor’s note: also this. Fuck this.)
  • Sam Hinkie acquired every second round pick in the next three NBA drafts at the trade deadline.

…..and that’s about it.

Also just for a good laugh here are some actual guys who appeared in a Sixers uniform last season.

  • Daniel Orton
  • Lorenzo Brown
  • James Nunnally
  • Adonis Thomas
  • Darius Johnson-Odom

Those five guys could play against you and some friends in pickup ball at the local JCC and you’d probably only lose by a couple buckets.

Finally, last season was the most awkward I have ever felt about the game of basketball in my life and I wouldn’t wish that kind of suffering upon any of my enemies. It was just weird watching a bunch of not-quite fringe NBA players play bad basketball and hoping that they lose night in and night out. It’s hard to sit there and root for your team to lose, but that was truly the only way to get better. It was also the first time as a lifelong Philadelphia sports fan where losing was not only tolerated but encouraged. It’s crazy to think that this little middle-aged white guy from Houston had completely mesmerized a city that is known to have no patience and is absolutely heartless when it comes to their sports teams’ successes or failures. (Obligatory cliché “snowballs at Santa Claus” joke).  But for real, we threw batteries at J.D. Drew for saying he didn’t want to play here. We’re the craziest fan base in the whole world and I couldn’t be prouder to be a part of it.

Anyway we won 19 games last season and finished with the second best odds at landing the #1 pick in June in addition to the Pelicans pick, which ended up being #10 overall. This was going swimmingly for Hinkie and the front office. Sixers fans could finally see the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. We ended up landing the third pick, which locked us in at getting Wiggins, Parker, or Embiid. All three of those guys would excite the fan base and reinvigorate the team. Then the Joel Embiid injury threw the whole top of the draft for a loop. Was there a real possibility that the Sixers would take a flyer on an injured big man and sit him for the entire season? I truly couldn’t fathom going through another year like the last.

So obviously and without hesitation, Sam Hinkie took Joel Embiid and put a dagger through the heart of every Sixers fan. To add insult to injury, he traded for Dario Saric and stashed him away overseas, thus twisting the dagger that he had already thrust inside us. What everyone wanted to believe was a one year rebuilding plan ended up being a multiyear process. After hundreds of expletives hurled by me at friends, family, religious statues, and TV media personalities, I finally began to cope with what was going on with my beloved Sixers franchise. In one year Sam Hinkie had gathered a pretty impressive stock. Four top twelve picks (MCW, Noel, Embiid, Saric), approximately $35-40 million in cap flexibility, and the likelihood of gathering another top three pick in 2015. He also acquired Joel Embiid’s Twitter handle, which has been All-Star caliber. The dude hits up Kim Kardashian and Rihanna on Twitter just because. As far as I’m concerned, Joel is the man and we all wish him a speedy recovery.

This brings us into the present and the 2014-15 Sixers squad. It’s definitely been easier to mentally prepare for this current season then it was for last. I’m used to seeing just terrible basketball run across my TV screen, but now it’s being brought to an all-time low. Last year, miraculously we won 19 games. This was largely due to having a combination of Turner, Hawes, Thad Young, and MCW. After Turner and Hawes were dealt at the deadline the team began to plummet down the standings. Not because they were great players, but because instead of acceptable NBA players taking 15-20 shots each a game; those shots were replaced by the likes of Casper Ware and Byron Mullens. This year, the Sixers have no decent veterans who can average 12-15 points a game. This is the reason they are without a win 10 games into the season.

Reasons-The-Sixers-Will-Still-Be-Terrible-Justin-Ford-USA-TODAY-Sports
via Rantsports 

This was the Sixers 2014 opening night starting lineup:

  • PG Tony Wroten
  • SG Chris Johnson
  • SF Hollis Thompson
  • PF Nerlens Noel
  • C Henry Sims

Seriously, this is no misprint. These guys can all call themselves NBA starters. I mentioned above that Chris Johnson was let go, and this is no accident, he really is a dreadful player. Johnson was brought into training camp one week before the season started. The Sixers roster is so pitiful this year, that Brett Brown legit had no other options at the two guard spot but to start a guy who just joined the team a week ago.

This whole scenario is so so sad. The Sixers are not guilty of tanking, as much as obliterating any chance possibly winning basketball games. The Sixers are comprised of MCW, Nerlens, and the longest list of D-list celebrity NCAA players who you may or may not remember when they were on a team that was a 12 seed in the tournament. However, second round pick K.J. McDaniels has been a true bright spot for the team and could actually be an integral part of this Sixers team in the future. Early reports on Nerlens Noel are good as well. He obviously needs to develop his body and gain weight and muscle, but his defensive skills are evident and he and Embiid in the frontcourt are not going to be a friendly sight for opponents in the future.

But why be on board with Sam Hinkie and the direction the franchise is going? Is it because we have no other choice and that believing in something is better than not believing at all? I think that’s true for the most part, but I also do personally believe in this plan. Having beyond awful basketball for the next two to three years is a fair sacrifice so that the Sixers are able to prosper for the next ten years after. I also believe in Brett Brown as a head coach. He’s coaching a bunch of college level guys and trying to get them to play together and improve on a night-to-night basis. His record as a coach is not even close to a direct correlation for the caliber of coach he will become when there is finally a real NBA team in front of him. Right now it’s really no fun being a Sixers fan. But if I had the chance to go back to draft night 2013 and stop Sam Hinkie from trading Jrue Holiday and dismantling the franchise I love so dearly; 100 out of 100 times I’m letting him dial up the Pelicans and make that deal.

Keep calm and Hinkie on my fellow Sixer fans, greener pastures are coming.

@jeff_berest

Flawless Predictions for 2014-15 that won’t be wrong at all

Last year’s Big Preview didn’t go so well–probably because I was guzzling #TheReturn kool-aid like a fat guy takes oxygen after a defensive touchdown. But have no fear, readers. This year I’m back, hardened and wise. AKA I won’t be picking the Bulls to win the Finals.

Dramatization of me drinking #TheReturn kool-aid
Dramatization of me drinking #TheReturn kool-aid


Eastern Conference

  1. Chicago Bulls
  2. Cleveland Cavs
  3. Toronto Raptors
  4. Washington Wizards
  5. Charlotte Hornets(!)
  6. Atlanta Hawks
  7. Miami Heat
  8. Detroit Pistons
  9. Brooklyn Nets
  10. New York Knicks
  11. Indiana Pacers
  12. Boston Celtics
  13. Orlando Magic
  14. Milwaukee Bucks
  15. Philadelphia 76ers

Eastern Conference Finals: Cavs over Bulls

Western Conference

  1. San Antonio Spurs
  2. Los Angeles Clippers
  3. Oklahoma City Thunder
  4. Golden State Warriors
  5. Dallas Mavericks
  6. Houston Rockets
  7. Memphis Grizzlies
  8. Portland Trailblazers
  9. Phoenix Suns
  10. New Orleans Pelicans
  11. Denver Nuggets
  12. Los Angeles Lakers
  13. Minnesota Timberwolves
  14. Sacramento Kings
  15. Utah Jazz

Western Conference Finals: Spurs over Clippers

via NY Post
via NY Post

NBA Finals

Spurs over Cavs

I’ve learned my lesson picking against the Spurs. Whatever your argument against this team might be has been invalidated over the last few seasons. Despite holding his stars to around 30 minutes per game and routinely sitting them, Coach Popovich has proven that his rosters go 10-12 deep, even in the playoffs. Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker should all be able to contribute as they did last year. Kawhi Leonard is a budding star, and the second youngest Finals MVP ever after Magic Johnson. As for Cleveland, it’s just difficult to imagine any other team in the East taking them down. While Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving’s playoff inexperience (zero combined games) could be a huge factor, I can’t forget LeBron single-handedly shutting Derrick Rose down in the 2011 Eastern Conference Finals. Combine an offense that could be historically great with the defensive potential of LeBron guarding the opponent’s best player, and you get a near unbeatable team. However, if any coach and system can take advantage of the flaws that year one in Cleveland expose, it’ll be the Spurs and Pop.

Screen Shot 2014-10-27 at 12.20.37 PM

MVP

  1. LeBron James
  2. Kevin Durant
  3. Steph Curry
  4. Derrick Rose
  5. Blake Griffin

As my friend Spencer explained so very well, it will be nearly impossible for Kevin Durant to win this season’s MVP because of the broken bone in his foot. That makes LeBron a heavy favorite with the added narrative of the prodigal son returning home. Steph Curry makes the list because he is fantastic and the Warriors look to take a step up. The same goes for Blake and the Clippers; a Chris Paul injury would make Griffin a serious contender. As for Rose, the narrative will be overpowering if he returns to form as part of a #1 seed Bulls team. How could I leave him off?

Defensive Player of the Year

  1. Dwight Howard
  2. Serge Ibaka
  3. Joakim Noah
  4. Marc Gasol
  5. Tyson Chandler

I’m stealing my reasoning from last season: “Dwight is the best defensive player on Earth and now that he’s (presumably) healthy again everyone will remember.”

Pumped Taj

Sixth Man of the Year

  1. Taj Gibson
  2. Jamal Crawford
  3. Manu Ginobili
  4. Isaiah Thomas
  5. Draymond Green

Taj deserved to win this award over Crawford last year. But points are usually voted for more than defense, so the same could happen once again.

Coach of the Year

  1. Rick Carlisle
  2. Tom Thibodeau
  3. Mike Budenholzer
  4. Greg Popovich
  5. Doc Rivers

I’m feeling a big season from the Mavericks, and I think Coach Carlisle will (deservedly) get his share of the credit. Thibs, Pops and Doc are perennial candidates while Budenholzer has a chance to make a name for himself with a healthy and talented roster.

Rookie of the Year

  1. Jabari Parker
  2. Nerlens Noel
  3. Andrew Wiggins
  4. Elfrid Payton
  5. Marcus Smart

Last year I didn’t even have Michael Carter-Williams on my roster, but that was a fluky season. Jabari figures to get the most minutes and scoring opportunities, so he’s my favorite. Nerlens should put up big numbers too, but he’s not as much of a scorer so he’s less likely to snag the award. You already know about Andrew Wiggins, and Elfrid Payton is the experts’ dark horse. Normally I would laugh that off, but these are the same people who were whispering about Damian Lillard before his rookie year. Marcus Smart should get plenty of minutes in Boston, especially if (when) Rajon Rondo gets traded.

Stat Champs

  1. Points: Kevin Durant (we’re going by averages)
  2. Assists: Chris Paul
  3. Rebounds: Andre Drummond
  4. Steals: Chris Paul
  5. Blocks: Anthony Davis

PS: this was the category I did the best in last year. Anyway, I hope you guys enjoyed/were engraged by my predictions and I welcome anyone to sound off in the comments or on Facebook/Twitter. The season begins tomorrow on TNT with Dallas @ San Antonio!

 

 

Some quick predictions from Bikshorn:

Baller shot caller
Baller shot caller

Steph Curry will win MVP

LeBron is a fine and noble choice, but I get the sense King James is going to let the other young stars on his team get theirs. Everyone and their grandma knows MJ won six rings but not many people can tell you how many MVPs he won (five). LeBron understands this and I predict he lets his game flow naturally on the Cavs rather than take over for big stretches.

Steph is my choice for a couple of reasons:

1. He is The Man. There is no bonafide second superstar on that team. They go as he goes.

2. His style of play. Bombing threes, breaking ankles and dropping beautiful dimes. Voters watch Sportscenter too.

3. His new coach. People who defend Mark Jackson, do you realize the Warriors were 12th in offensive efficiency last year? I think Kerr, despite his inexperience, will unleash Curry, allowing him to reach heights we’ve never seen from a point guard.

The Clippers will represent the West in the Finals

blake

I’m predicting a monster year from Blake. Last season’s injury to Chris Paul was the ultimate blessing in disguise, giving the former top pick the opportunity to develop as a ball handler and distributor. Darren Collison may have been penciled in as point guard on the lineup card, but Blake was running the show.

Griffin is not content with just adding one new facet to his game. Blake spent the summer refining his jump shot, smoothing out what was one of the least asthetically pleasing things in the NBA. Combine that with his rebounding, post game and the aformentioned handling skills, and you’re looking at a force of nature.

Oh btw Chris Paul is on the Clippers too.

The Cavaliers will represent the East in the Finals

It pains me to write this, but it’s true. The concerns in regards to defending the paint are real, but not real enough that I see anyone in the Eastern Conference winning four out of seven against Cleveland.

The Cavaliers are going to be terrifying on offense. They are the perfect blend of modern NBA philosophy, employing superstars who either a) get to the rim b) shoot threes or c) all of the above. If LeBron can add horse whisperer to his resume and convince Dion Waiters that being Jamal Crawford is super cool, there will be no stopping these guys.

The Cavs will win the NBA Finals

Three superstars > two superstars

The Bulls will annihilate the Pacers on 11/15 and I will enjoy every second of it.

bulls pacers

My girlfriend got us tickets for my birthday and I cannot tell you how excited I am. The Pacers are going to be garbage this year, especially early in the season when George Hill will still think he’s a threat driving to the basket.

I despise the Pacers and everything that they stand for. Being able to witness, in person, the carnage that the Bulls will leave behind at the UC is going to bring me so much joy. This might not be a great game to watch on TV, especially on a Saturday night, but I urge you to watch until the end so that you don’t miss my victory dance. I’m going to put Marlins Kid to shame.

Jump Ball: Injured Centers (POLL)

Oden may actually be back in the NBA very soon with this decision. (USATSI)

Three players that will undoubtedly generate a lot of buzz regardless of what they do on the court this season are Nerlens Noel, Greg Oden and Andrew Bynum. All are extremely talented seven foot centers with varying histories of major knee injuries. Noel, coming off a brutal ACL tear, is the youngest and probably the healthiest. Oden has only played 82 career games because of several surgeries while Bynum played as many games as Derrick Rose last year because of chronic issues in both knees. Noel will start his career as a 76er, whereas Bynum left Philly to help bring the Cavs back to prominence. Many are reporting that Greg Oden will choose a team next week. Regardless, it’s a fairly safe bet that at least one of these guys will be able to play 50+ games of high quality basketball season. So here’s our question to you, readers:

 

Five Severely Detached Thoughts From the Draft

sherwood forest

Hey there boys and girls,

I spent the last four days at this thing called Electric Forest and I was unable to monitor the NBA draft very closely, or keep up with all the exciting trades that have big time players moving to interesting new franchises. I know that you have come to expect a certain level of commitment from the good folks here at DRaT, and I apologize for letting everyone down, but holy shit check out the Forest next year guys.

Anyway, now that I have returned to reality I want to share a couple of things that I have observed after looking over the madness and mayhem of the last four days.

1. Are GMs getting smarter?

For weeks all that we heard from draft experts was that Nerlens Noel was a sure thing to go first overall, almost regardless of the team that won the lottery. He was projected to be a can’t miss defensive force, the type of rim protector that changes the entire defensive culture of a team, sort of like Tyson Chandler or Roy Hibbert. But with a recently repaired ACL, and whispers around the league that Nerlens might not exactly have a great group of people giving him advice, Noel plummeted all the way to 6, only to then get traded almost immediately after being picked.

It was impressive to see 5 GMs (and MJ) pass on a guy who many thought would be the first person to shake David Stern’s hand at the last boo-fest of his storied tenure as commissioner. In a draft where no player jumped out as being a truly dominant force, GMs seemed to be willing to look for sure things instead of hoping for things that may never come to fruition.

Was Anthony Bennett sort of a reach at #1? Perhaps, but there really is no way to know for the next 4-5 years. The Cavs saw a player who they think can be a difference maker, who can be versatile by playing the 3 or 4, and most importantly, who had a floor that was higher than the floor of anyone else in this draft.

2. Shed a tear for Ben McLemore

I had a wet dream that the Bulls would somehow scoop up the talented 2-guard from Kansas as he slipped out of the top 4 in the draft. I thought there was some way the Bulls could turn Deng, the Charlotte pick and/or Mirotic into a top ten pick that they could use on McLemore. But when the Kings announced they would be taking McLemore at 7 I couldn’t help but put my head in my hands and weep for what could have been. While the Maloofs are out of the picture and the team has brought in a new GM and coach, the culture (if you can call a dark black cloud a culture) around the Kings is not ideal for a timid shooter who has all the talent in the world.

With DMC ready to make a stink about his next payday and the team entertaining the possibility of bringing back super-talented-yet-super-frustrating Tyreke Evans for 4 years/$44 million, I cannot imagine a worse possible situation for McLemore. Evans, definitely not capable of playing point guard in the NBA, would eat into the minutes McLemore would need to grow into an NBA player. He also needs a veteran leadership to show him how to carry himself and how to assert himself into the action when the time is right. Looking up and down the Kings’ roster as constructed, it’s unclear who McLemore will receive any tutoring from.

Nurture is often a more powerful factor in development than nature, and in the NBA all it takes is a couple of bad habits to completely derail a promising career.

3. LOL Bobcats

Not totally sure what the thinking was in Charlotte on Thursday night. Cody Zeller, a player many thought would be considered for the top pick in 2013, and a definite candidate for the Naismith Trophy heading into his sophomore season at Indiana, was kind of a letdown considering the preseason expectations that swirled around him.

For stretches of games Zeller would completely disappear on the offensive end. Whether that was by the design of IU coach Tom Crean is pretty much a mystery. Zeller spent most of his time in college playing around the rim and taking advantage of his great size. But the seven footer is going to run into some trouble at the next level, as most teams will employ a player who can match him in terms of reach, and probably will be able to out jump and out muscle Zeller.

Scouts have said that Zeller has been working on improving his jumpshot in order to be more effective at the next level, where the shots at the rim that he got in college won’t come as easily. I think Zeller is a smart player who will work hard, and I understand that the Bobcats are starved for any type of F/C who will provide literally any prodcution at all, but I just don’t think Zeller was the right pick. With Alex Len and Noel still on the board, I think Charlotte will regret this pick down the road.

Hopefully they don’t figure things out until 2017.

4. Spurs with a late steal 

The Spurs are just good at this stuff. With the 58th (and third to last) pick in Thursday night’s draft, San Antonio snagged, in my opinion, a potentially effective NBA player in Deshaun Thomas.

Thomas led the incredibly competitive and tough Big Ten in both scoring and free throw percentage. The dude can shoot the ball with the best of them. So why did he fall all the way to 58? Teams have been concerned with his lack of speed and defensive ability. Thomas, listed at 6’7″, is a bit of a liability against the incredibly fast wings he will be forced to match up against in the NBA.

But at 58, this is an incredible pick for the Spurs. They were able to take a player who has established offensive skills, a player who loves to catch and shoot and will fit perfectly into their scheme that is so amazing at getting guys open shots on the perimeter. Even if Thomas doesn’t work out in San Antonio, he was without a doubt worth a flier that late in the draft. It looks like the Spurs have made yet another shrewd move to keep themselves in championship contention.

5. Bulls draft Tony Snell

I must admit going into the draft I knew pretty much nothing about the MVP of the Mountain West Tournament. Snell, who shot 39% from 3 last season, looks to be a potential floor spacer for a Bulls team that is starved for shooting. At 6’7″, Snell is also a capable backup for Luol Deng at the 3 should the Bulls decide to have Jimmy Butler spend more time playing shooting guard. While the Bulls already have a strong defensive culture, Snell looks like he will only fortify that terrifying defense. He is certainly capable of being an athletic force on the defensive end, and hopefully he will develop his offensive game further. The Bulls desperately need a player who is not afraid to drive to the hoop and draw contact. Hopefully Snell is able to develop into that kind of player.

Draft Preview: I Guess Somebody Has to be First

Nerlens-Noel

Despite the fanfare at the lottery last month, the Cleveland front office cannot be too thrilled to have won the lottery this year, a year in which there is definitely no clear-cut-sure-thing-superstar. Even though all basketball fans are well aware of this fact, an unfair amount of pressure will be heaped upon whatever player is drafted #1, as well as the Cavs GM Chris Grant. Like it or not, people will always have high expectations for the name David Stern reads first on draft night.

In a recent secret GM poll conducted by ESPN’s Chad Ford, most GMs seem to be enamored with Victor Oladipo, the athletic hard worker from Indiana. The obvious benefits of taking a guy like Oladipo is that, even if his offensive game does not develop the way many teams are projecting it to, he will still be able to contribute on the defensive end, becoming a sort of Tony Allen type player, something several teams in the NBA would kill for. His ceiling is to become a Dwyane Wade type player, an incredible athlete who, while perhaps not a prolific shooter, will be able to get to the rim, draw fouls, and make life absolutely miserable for opposing two guards. While this is a nice dream, it is far more likely, in my humble opinion, that Oladipo ends up being a fantastic stopper but not much else. But in a draft where there seem to be very few sure things, knowing that you will be acquiring a player who will be able to compete on a nightly basis is a luxury most GMs won’t be able to count on.

So why is it then that it required this air of extreme secrecy for general managers to admit they love Oladipo?

With the first pick in the draft, there is pressure on the team to do something spectacular. Every fan expects number one picks to play like LeBron or Rose, a player the franchise will be able to build around for the next decade, who will lead them to the championship that seems so far away on the night of the draft. It’s that pressure that causes teams to forecast rather than observe. Teams become enamored with the “what ifs” of a player and ignore the body of work they have to study when evaluating a guy. When taking a chance on an international player in the second round, the speculation is justified. There’s little established talent left to choose from at that point so to swing and miss on a guy’s potential isn’t that bad considering the limited alternatives. But with the first pick in the draft there is no room for screwing around.

What do we know about Nerlens Noel?

– He’s 6’11”

– He’s 215lbs (that’s pretty light for a guy that size)

– On February 12, Noel tore his ACL, the same injury that sidelined Derrick Rose for the last year.

– He’s a pretty good shot blocker

What do we think about Nerlens Noel?

– He’s an all-world athlete

– He can develop a devastating post game

– He will recover from his knee injury with no issues because everyone is Adrian Pederson now

He might be getting some bad advice

The trend for #1 picks is for GMs to put a little bit too much faith into the things in the second list. And the fact is that a lot of times there isn’t a problem in doing that. The Cavs’ last #1 pick was a guy who played basically half of one college season, but it seems like they made the right decision.

But Kyrie seemed to have been the consensus best guy in that draft and it wasn’t a hotly debated topic. People had seen this guy dominate in high school for years and were confident he was ready to contribute in the NBA. It just doesn’t sound like scouts and teams have that type of confidence in Noel. I don’t think anyone knows what type of player he’ll be in five years, or even in the next 9 months.

I’m not sure what the Cavs are going to do. I don’t think anyone knows. I hope they take Otto Porter, the small forward from Georgetown who would fit in perfectly with the young group they have already established. But I wouldn’t be surprised if they rolled the dice.