Nerlens Noel met with the Cleveland Cavaliers earlier this week. He can't do a full individual workout, but there was still much to be learned from the interview and medical evaluation aspects of the meeting. The biggest concern is obviously Noel's surgically repaired ACL. The status of Noel's recovery could be the deciding factor between him and Alex Len for the #1 pick. Were the Cavaliers pleased with what they saw? According to Noel in an interview with the Courier-Journal, the Cavs gave him very good feedback.
What did the Cleveland Cavaliers (owners of the No. 1 pick) and their medical staff say when you visited this week?
"The doctor said everything was perfect. All three teams I've been to said it looks 100 percent fine and I'm definitely ahead of schedule. It's all been positive feedback."
That's definitely good news. There have been whispers going around that there may have been something less than encouraging about Nerlens' knee, but it doesn't sound that way anymore. ESPN's Chad Ford is apparently willing to reinforce the notion that Noel's knee looks to be in good shape.
Hearing same RT @KyleTucker_CJ: Noel was in Cleveland last week and said the Cavs' team doc told him "everything was perfect" with his knee.— Chad Ford (@chadfordinsider) June 24, 2013
By this point you guys know my stance on this: if his knee is good to go, you take him. But it remains a very real possibility that, even if Noel is healthy, the Cavs simply prefer Len as a prospect. In that same interview, Noel said that he still doesn't know if he's going first overall.
Do you have a sense yet for whether you'll go No. 1?
"You never know. You just take it step by step. If I'm not, then I won't be crushed. I'll use it as more motivation, continue to work to become the player I want to be."
Nerlens also addressed some rumors about him keeping bad company and having an entourage of "epic bad dudes." Apparently that's just not true -- at least according to him. He took his time signing with an agent, but insists that was only because he was focusing on his rehab.
So what about these rumors that popped up last week, that you have ‘epic bad dudes' around you?
"That's foolish for anybody to say. That definitely bothered me. I heard some crazy things about myself. Seeing what was said, it was definitely provoked by agents that I didn't meet with. I was mainly focusing on rehab and I told my advisor that. I told him, ‘Just tell them I'm not meeting with any agents.' I guess they took that personally. That amounted to them talking negative about the people around me, thinking my advisor was the one that was putting them to the side, when I really told him I didn't want to meet with so many agents so I could focus on my rehab. But it is what it is. They're going to say things. I didn't let it get to me."
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Nerlens Noel talked about the possibility of playing with Kyrie Irving. A big part of why I'm so enthusiastic about drafting Noel is that Kyrie should be able to hide a lot of his deficiencies on offense. Having an excellent point guard is a huge help for developing big men and we could build something incredibly exciting in Cleveland with Noel and Irving.
Cleveland has a young star point guard in Kyrie Irving and there's already buzz that LeBron James might come back in two years. Have you done any daydreaming about playing with those two?
"Oh, yeah, that would definitely be a special team, definitely a championship contender. I mean, whether Lebron comes back or not. Having an All-Star point guard does a lot for the organization. Kyrie's a very good piece and I think I'd develop a lot faster with him."
There's a lot to like about both Alex Len and Nerlens Noel, but interviews like this simply make me want Noel even more. His play is dynamic enough, but he seems like a legitimately good character and hard worker. If his knee recovery is on track, I don't see how the Cavs can pass him up.