Prior to tearing his ACL in February, Nerlens Noel (scouting report) was pretty much a lock to go No. 1 overall in the upcoming draft. But while many mock drafts still have Noel going No. 1 to the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Cavs are unsure about taking the rehabbing big man.
Cleveland took Kyrie Irving with the first pick in the 2011 NBA Draft despite injury concerns, but they were more sold on his talent than they are Noel's. The Cavs like Noel's defense, but a lack of offense and two major knee injuries in four years could make them look elsewhere.
Who are they possibly considering besides Noel? Terry Pluto of The Plain Dealer says Cleveland is also seriously looking at Alex Len (scouting report), Anthony Bennett (scouting report), Ben McLemore (scouting report) and Otto Porter (scouting report). Victor Oladipo (scouting report) may also be under consideration, but that's believed to be more of a long shot.
The Cavs need a small forward, so Porter could be a good fit. Porter is arguably the most NBA-ready player in the draft and would provide Cleveland with some versatility on the wing. McLemore could also be an interesting fit, as the Cavs are reportedly intrigued by a three-guard lineup of him, Irving and Dion Waiters.
-- The Washington Wizards already have their backcourt of the future in John Wall and Bradley Beal, but that's not stopping them from taking a hard look at Oladipo. However, when the Wizards asked Oladipo to come to the Verizon Center to work out, he declined, instead asking the team to visit him. Because of the guard situation in Washington, Oladipo's camp is skeptical that the Wizards would actually take him.
-- The Phoenix Suns have three picks in the draft, with the first coming at No. 5. The Suns are considering a wide range of options, including Pittsburgh's Steven Adams (scouting report). The 19-year-old was impressive in a workout over the weekend, according to Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic. Adams is considered a project by many, but new Suns coach Jeff Hornacek feels that he could contribute immediately.
-- Bennett is considered one of the most physically gifted players in the draft, as he can play effectively in the post and on the wing. Bennett received some high praise from NBA senior director of scouting operations Ryan Blake, who told Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel that the UNLV star reminds him of Larry Johnson.
-- With Dario Saric pulling out of the draft, ESPN's Chad Ford believes that Shabazz Muhammad (scouting report) and Sergey Karasev (scouting report) will see a bump in their draft stock. RealGM's Shams Charania reports that there's a lot of interest in Karasev, and seven teams drafting from Nos. 9-22 will fly out to Russia to meet with him.
-- There are updates on a couple other Euro prospects. Ford reports that French forward Livio Jean-Charles will stay in the draft, while Alex Kennedy of HOOPSWORLD reports that French big man Mouhammadou Jaiteh is unsure whether he will remain in the draft or play in France for at least another year.