Marshall v Kentucky

Nerlens Noel says he hopes to be able to play around Christmas


Fans of whichever team wins the lottery next week may have to wait until Christmas to unwrap their present.

Kentucky’s Nerlens Noel is the leading candidate to be the No. 1 pick in the draft. Yes, the same Noel who blew out his ACL last season. He was at the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago Thursday, getting measured and meeting with teams but not working out.

When does he think he’ll be able to play? (Via the official reporter)

Noel injured his knee in February, so Christmas is around 10 months. Whatever team drafts him will not rush him back, so it could be longer.

Where Noel goes really depends on who wins the lottery. Does that team need size up front, or do they need a wing player and like Ben McLemore. How does the team that win grade those guys out? That said, he’s a top three lock.

If you’re wondering why a guy who blew out his ACL and is about to miss training camp is a possible No. 1 pick the answer is simple: It’s not about this season. It’s nice when you get a Damian Lillard to contribute as a rookie, but what really matters is how good he is three years from now. And Noel is a very athletic guy who measured nearly 7’0” in shoes, who can score and run the floor. There is a lot of potential in him. In a draft where there are no great players, teams will bet with the top picks on the guys with the highest ceilings. The most upside, if you will.

And that is Noel.

Khris Middleton dunks, Jimmy Butler can’t stop him (VIDEO)

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Khris Middleton has more expectations and more pressure on him after a breakout season in Milwaukee, followed by him getting him PAID this summer.

Well, he looked pretty good on this play against the Bulls, making the steal then throwing down despite Jimmy Butler‘s efforts to stop him.

Middleton finished with 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting for the Bucks. However, Butler had the last laugh as he went off for 23 points on 12 shots and led the Bulls to the (meaningless) preseason win.

Somebody looks comfortable: Paul George drops 20 in first quarter

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Paul George‘s first experience starting as a power forward was going up against Anthony Davis — not just one of the best power forwards in the game, one of the handful of best players in the game period. That didn’t go well for George, and he wasn’t happy about it.

His second experience was in another preseason game Tuesday, going up against the Pistons and their four, Ersan İlyasova. He’s not quite as intimidating.

George scored 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting, 4-of-5 on threes — and that was just the first quarter (you can see it all in the video above).

As we have said before, George at the four is not a bad call by the Pacers, but some of that depends on the matchup. On the nights the Pacers face Davis or Blake Griffin or LaMarcus Aldridge or Zach Randolph (or a handful of others) the Pacers’ coaching staff is going to have to adjust. But there are a lot of nights where George at the four is going to force the other team to adjust, and that will play into the Pacers’ hands.