The NBA Draft is fast approaching, and with it comes questions about a guy who was once — and still may be– the top prospect in the draft class. Kentucky forward Nerlens Noel suffered a brutal ACL injury which cut his season short, but it’s not expected to have a Derrick Rose effect on the start of his NBA career. According to Detroit Pistons beat writer Keith Langlois, Noel is expected to be ready to begin his NBA career by Christmas.
Nerlens Noel says hopes ready to go by Christmas. Says injury a blessing, working on other aspects. Will be a bettter player for it, he says
— Keith Langlois (@Keith_Langlois) May 16, 2013
This bit of news could both help and hurt Noel’s draft status, as at the moment he’s being projected as Chad Ford’s No. 1 prospect and first-overall pick in the draft, but things could change if his knee starts to scare people off as we near the draft. The Orlando Magic are projected to win the draft lottery at the moment, and taking Noel would mean they may have a replacement for Dwight Howard after a year without him.
But that knee problem and the fact that we know for certain he’s not going to be ready on opening night may make a team go in the direction of a Trey Burke or Victor Oladipo to give them that star point guard rather than a forward and center with a bum knee.
Noel is a talent, there’s no denying that but Sam Bowie keeps coming to mind when Noel is being discussed and we can only hope medical science is advanced enough that we don’t see Noel fall into the tragic path of another former Wildcat who’s promising career was upended by bad knees.