There’s a big risk that comes with draft Nerlens Noel.
And not just his torn ACL.
Noel played only 24 games last season, and although that’s more than twice as many as Kyrie Irving did his lone season at Duke, it’s still a pretty small sample. I think Noel proved enough to justify becoming the No. 1 pick if his injury checks out OK, but I’d be more confident if he had played more.
NBA teams typically have access to college practices, so they should have more info than the rest of us. It’s sound like that’s especially true of the Cavaliers with Noel.
John Calipari, via Mary Schmitt Boyer of The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer:
“Chris Grant has been in our building more than any other GM. That’s no disrespect to any other GM. That’s just a fact. He and his staff are very thorough in what they’ve done.
If Noel (again, assuming there are no additional red flags with his injury) impressed Grant in the moments the rest of us couldn’t see, Cleveland will will probably draft the Kentucky center. If Noel didn’t, the Cavaliers might pass.
Either way, this means the Cavaliers should get this pick right – if they can correctly diagnose his injury future, which is another matter entirely. But this is a first step before tackling that larger issue.