April 17, 2013
Nerlens Noel was already the favorite to be selected first overall in the NBA Draft.
Then freshman Marcus Smart announced he would return to Oklahoma State, reducing the competition for the top spot.
ESPN's Chad Ford chatted about the draft and Noel's status. The key excerpt:
On Smart's decision: It really helps Nerlens Noel. We had Smart projected to go No. 1 to four teams in the lottery -- the Orlando Magic, New Orleans Hornets, Toronto Raptors and Utah Jazz. Combined, those teams own a 32.6 percent chance of winning the lottery. Two of those now flip to Noel -- the Magic and Raptors. We now have Noel projected to nine of the 14 teams in the lottery. Combined, they own an 84.8 percent chance of winning the No. 1 pick. The other five go to Ben McLemore.
You can read the full interview here. Ford doesn't go into it, but he has dropped Archie Goodwin from the first round to the second in his latest mock exercise.