Nerlens Noel would be a worthy No. 1 pick in many drafts if it weren’t for his ACL tear. His athleticism and defensive skills draw rave reviews from both traditional scouts and number crunchers. There’s safety in a consensus positive opinion, and Noel provides that on the court.
But his ACL tear and the possibility he won’t play until Christmas (or later), won’t regain his athleticism and won’t avoid future injuries means Noel’s value as a prospect is significantly diminished.
It’s reached the point experts, perhaps including some within the Cavaliers organization, have advocated Cleveland use or consider using the No. 1 pick on Alex Len, Otto Porter, Ben McLemore, Anthony Bennett, Trey Burke or Victor Oladipo. In this draft, the top pick might not be much better than the No. 5 pick, so it makes sense the Cavaliers would want to trade down. They’ve also expressed a desire to make the playoffs next year, so maybe the want to just trade out of the draft for a veteran.
Cleveland continues to aggressively shop this pick, according to sources, but one executive said the Cavs “have completely overvalued it.” It’s looking more and more like Cleveland will keep the pick
The draft is far enough away – eight days – that the Cavaliers can still posture as if this No. 1 pick is as valuable as a typical No. 1 pick. Maybe they find another team that believes that and can swing a trade.
If the Cavaliers are serious about making a trade, they can always lower their asking price later. Or maybe they just really like one of those prospects and are asking for what it would legitimately take for them to forgo the opportunity to pick him.