In three days, Nerlens Noel will finally find out where he’ll be beginning his NBA career and living for at least the next several years. Most draft prospects have no idea which team is going to select them on draft night, but the former Kentucky star has a pretty good idea of where he’s going to land.
The 19-year-old only met with the top three teams in this year’s draft – the Cleveland Cavaliers, Orlando Magic and Washington Wizards – and he believes that’s his range.
“It’s definitely exciting,” Noel said. “Those are three great opportunities and three great teams that have very bright futures. They are three great organizations and they’ve all impressed me. They all have great front office guys and they’re all really family-oriented teams. They all really care about their players and that alone really impressed me. Whatever team I go to, I’m definitely going to look to assert myself right away and do some good things for them so that I can help them become a playoff team.”
The Cavaliers, Magic and Wizards have each expressed interest in Noel. Also, according to Noel, these three teams don’t seem concerned about the big man’s knee injury. Noel tore his ACL in February, but Cleveland, Orlando and Washington don’t seem to be worried about it.
“It’s been nothing but great feedback with every team that I’ve went to – from Orlando to D.C. recently to Cleveland a couple of days ago,” Noel said. “They’ve said that my knee is 100 percent and perfectly fine. They definitely wanted to see that I was continuing to progress and building my muscles back up, but they think I can come back stronger.
“I’m three months out of post-op and I’m doing very well. I’m ahead of schedule and everything is moving along very well. I’m doing defensive slides and I’m able to jog, so everything is going well. I’m expecting a very strong return. I want to come back even stronger from this.”
While every player wants to be the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, Noel is honestly content with all three situations. Recently, rumors have surfaced that the Cavaliers may pick Maryland’s Alex Len over Noel. While that may disappoint Noel briefly, it’s not something that he’s going to lose any sleep over.