Nerlens Noel: 'I can become one of the best players in the NBA'

USA TODAY Sports

The potential top pick in June's NBA draft discusses his confidence in recovering from ACL surgery and desire to become one of NBA's best players.

Workouts for the upcoming NBA Draft are getting in to high gear. However, one person who won't be participating in any workouts is potential number one pick Nerlens Noel. Noel is still recovering from a torn ACL in his left knee.

Reports have come out that the Cleveland Cavaliers, owners of the number one pick, have been looking at both Noel and Georgetown small forward Otto Porter and have also talked about trading the pick. Noel told Alex Kennedy of USA Today Sports that he's going to fully recover from the February injury. The Kentucky center also told Kennedy that his goal is to become one the NBA's best players.

"I definitely feel that I can be [the best defender in the league]," Noel said. "I have to do a lot of work and make sure I bring it every night, but I think I can get there."

If the Cavs were to select him, Noel would slide in to next to young core of Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters and Tristan Thompson. Given the time he needs to recover and the rawness of his game, it's unlikely Noel would be able to help the Cavs make the playoffs next season.

After the Cavs won the first pick overall, owner Dan Gilbert said he thought having the numbers one and 19 picks in this year's draft would keep them out of future lotteries "for a while." Whether they think they can draft Noel and make the playoffs next season remains unclear.

The NBA Draft is scheduled for June 27th from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

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NBA mock draft consensus: Noel to Cavs | SB Nation's Big Board

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