Nerlens Noel, Lakeem Jackson

Nerlens Noel to meet with Washington Wizards next weekend


Could Nerlens Noel slip all the way down to the No. 3 spot in this draft?

Not likely. But with an unpredictable draft the Wizard are going to do their due diligence and meet with the injured Kentucky big man this weekend, reports Michael Lee at the Washington Post.

The Wizards have the third selection in the June 27 draft but are expected to be the second team to host Noel, who already met with the Orlando Magic on June 2 and will visit the Cleveland Cavaliers on June 20.

But several scouts and executive have speculated that Noel could also slide. During the NBA combine in Chicago last month, Noel weighed in at 206 pounds and he is also recovering from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, raising concerns about his durability and strength inside.

The weight thing is not that big a deal, he has the frame to put on muscle and Kentucky Coach John Calipari said he played at closer to 225 this past season. The ACL injury means he will miss at least the start and potentially all of next season, depending on the recovery.

It may be three years before a team really gets much out of Noel, but that’s what you should b drafting for — who a player will be in three years. In a draft where there are no lock No. 1, franchise changing guys Noel makes the most sense as the top pick because of his potential.

But if the Cavaliers and Magic are not willing to be patient, or trade out of the top two picks, maybe he falls to the Wizards. Not likely, but meeting with him makes sense.

Pelicans signing center Jerome Jordan

Marc Gasol, Jerome Jordan
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Through the first two weeks of training camp, the Pelicans have seen their frontcourt depth decimated by injuries to Alexis Ajinca and Omer Asik, both of whom are out for a few weeks. A deal with Greg Smith fell through after he failed a physical. Now, Yahoo’s Marc Spears reports that they’re signing former Knicks and Nets center Jerome Jordan as a short-term solution:

Jordan has only played 65 games in his career and hasn’t been spectacular, but the Pelicans need a body while their two centers are out. Anthony Davis will spend some time at center, but considering the contracts Asik and Ajinca got this summer, Alvin Gentry clearly plans on playing him at power forward as well, and they need a center to at least fill time before Asik and Ajinca get back.

Kevin Love unsure about opening-night return

Kevin Love
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He’s back in practice with the Cavaliers, but there’s still no clarity on whether Kevin Love will be available for the season opener. Love had shoulder surgery in April after suffering a torn labrum in Game 4 of the Cavs’ first-round series against the Celtics, and doctors initially gave him a timetable of four to six months for a return. The six-month end of that is right around opening night (October 27), but Love still doesn’t know whether he’ll be able to play against the Bulls—although he is hopeful.

Via the Sporting News‘ Sean Deveney:

“I feel pretty good,” Love told Sporting News. “As far as the opener goes, I am not completely sure. I’ll probably get with the doctors and see what they have to say. I know that my six-month post-op is coming up here pretty fast. As far as getting the strength back, getting the range of motion, I feel pretty good, so I am looking forward to getting into some more contact, getting into a rhythm and getting out there as quickly as I can.”

Love has been cleared for 3-on-3 practices, but not yet for 5-on-5. If it were up to him, he’d be back on the court, but he understands he needs to follow the rehab protocol for his injury.

“(Six months is) just a ballpark figure that has generally been thrown out there by anybody who has talked about the rehab process for this kind of an injury,” Love said. “I like to think that I am ahead of the game, but there’s different tests and the due diligence that the doctor will go through and the training staff will go through. So all I can do is go out there every day and attack my rehab and hopefully I will be able to go out there and help these guys as soon as possible.”

At the very least, the Cavs will be without Kyrie Irving (still recovering from knee surgery) and Iman Shumpert (out up to three months with a wrist injury), and probably Tristan Thompson too, unless his contract situation changes unexpectedly. So having Love available would be some much-needed good news. But it’s more important that Love (and everyone else) is healthy for the playoffs. If he’s not ready to play, there’s no need to rush back for an October game.