Nerlens Noel was projected to go first overall by Chad Ford, NBADraft.net and Draft Express prior to a gruesome ACL injury that saw the 6’11″ big man writhe in the floor, his career in the air.
But is it in the air? Noel’s injury twisted the faces and stomaches of his teammates into knots, but players have recovered from ACL injuries more so in recent years than even five to seven years ago. DeJuan Blair plays with no ACLs; Baron Davis tore both—and both players continued to play at a high level.
If Noel can fully recover, he should be able to cash in on that immense potential. When we had Alex Kennedy of HOOPSWORLD on the Dig N Shot podcast, Alex felt Noel’s talent alone should still render him the No. 1 overall pick. With the draft just about a month away, Noel is still projected to go No. 2 overall by NBADraft.net, and only Ben McLemore of Kansas is given higher prospects.
So what is it that is causing teams to consider a guy who had what could have just been a career ending injury?