COMMENTARY | As with all drafts in all sports, there has been no shortage of rumors of whom the Cleveland Cavaliers might select with the No. 1 overall pick in Thursday's 2013 NBA Draft.
After Cleveland was awarded the top selection, Nerlens Noel was widely considered a no-brainer to be the top pick because he filled the Cavs' need for a center, whereas Ben McLemore was thought to be a redundancy at shooting guard because the Cavs selected Dion Waiters fourth overall last year.
It's amazing what can change in a couple weeks.
Others insist that Otto Porter, Jr. could be a viable candidate because he fills the team's vacancy at small forward.
Most years, the talk of Len and Porter would be easily written off as mere speculation or a feeble attempt at a smoke screen by Cavs' management intended to spark a suitor to pull the trigger on a trade, but with GM Chris Grant's recent history of making surprising picks at the top of the draft--such as his selections of Dion Waiters and Tristan Thompson--nothing is out of the question for the Cavaliers on draft night.
Pros and Cons of Cavaliers' Top Prospects
Nerlens Noel, Kentucky, Center
Pros: Noel is a freakish athlete that could immediately bolster the Cavaliers' team defense when he steps onto the court. As a freshman at Kentucky, Noel averaged an impressive 9.5 rebounds and 4.4 blocks in only 32 minutes per game. At 6'11'', Noel has the height to be a true center for a team that currently lacks one.
Cons: Noel's injury history is the biggest reason why he could slip past the first pick: Suffering a torn ACL in the same knee he injured as a sophomore in high school will postpone Noel's expected arrival to the NBA until the beginning of 2014. Additionally, Noel's lack of offensive skills leaves a lot to be desired from a No. 1 overall pick. He will also have to gain weight in the pros. After weighing in at just 206 pounds at the NBA Pre-Draft Camp in Chicago, Noel will have to go on the Shawn Kemp diet to hold his own on the block against bigger post players.
Ben McLemore, Kansas, Shooting Guard
Pros: McLemore's biggest asset is his scoring ability. As a freshman at Kansas, McLemore averaged almost 16 points on 49 percent shooting, 42 percent on 3-pointers. At 6'5'', McLemore has the size and athleticism to be a prototypical shooting guard in the pros. Coupled with Kyrie Irving, McLemore could really help spread the floor and ease the defensive pressure that Irving routinely faces.
Cons: The main knock on McLemore is that he wasn't consistently aggressive on offensive this past year. While playing alongside Kyrie Irving would alleviate some of McLemore's offensive responsibilities, taking a player with a suspect killer instinct isn't ideal for the top pick. Moreover, taking McLemore would produce a logjam at shooting guard after the acquisition of Dion Waiters last year. The fact that Waiters had a strong rookie year might make it difficult justifying this pick.
Alex Len, Maryland, Center
Pros: Standing 7'1'', 255 pounds, Alex Len undoubtedly has the size that would make him an attractive option to take over the Cavaliers' starting center spot. Len is more than just a big body, though; he moves extremely well and has an impressive skill set for someone his size. Len showed the ability at Maryland to finish strong at the rim and even possesses a respectable mid-range jumper.
Cons: Len's rush up the draft board seems like more of an indictment on this year's draft class than an endorsement of Len's college résumé. Len averaged a rather pedestrian 11.9 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks in 26 minutes per game at Maryland--who had a mediocre year as a team. Like Nerlens Noel, Alex Len has an injury of his own that should worry the Cavaliers. Len suffered a stress fracture in his ankle this past season, and while he is expected to recover, reoccurring lower body injuries have to be a concern for someone with Len's frame. Above all, Len looks like he might be like a Swiss Army knife in the pros-able to do a lot of things, but maybe none of them really well.
Otto Porter, Jr., Georgetown, Small Forward
Pros: Otto Porter is the best small forward in the draft, and if taken, it would allow the Cavaliers to put Alonzo Gee out of his misery and onto the bench where he belongs. Porter averaged a solid 16 points per game while shooting 42 percent from three. His 6'9'', 200 pound frame allowed him to bring down 7.5 rebounds a game while also excelling on the defensive end in college. Porter's defensive presence would be a welcomed addition for Mike Brown in his quest to bring back a defense-first mentality in his first year back coaching the Cavaliers.
Cons: In any draft, it is never a good idea to reach for a need and take a player higher than his skills might warrant. Although he put up respectable numbers at Georgetown, Porter's middle-of-the-road athleticism leaves a lot to be desired at the top of the draft. Perhaps because of that, Porter struggled to score off the dribble in college, which could pose a problem in the NBA as Porter is sure to face more athletic defenders.Adam Redling is a freelance writer from Cleveland, OH. He covers the Cavaliers for the Yahoo! Contributor Network.
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- Cleveland Cavaliers
- Nerlens Noel
- Ben McLemore
- Dion Waiters
- Alex Len