For the second time in three years, Nick Gilbert has struck pay dirt.
The Cleveland Cavaliers, entering the lottery with the third-highest odds, have won the number one pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. Orlando, with the top odds for pick one, landed the second pick of the draft. The Washington Wizards jumped from the eighth spot to the third pick in the draft.
Though speculators haven’t ruled out Mike Brown selecting Otto Porter, Cleveland will likely take consensus pick Nerlens Noel out of the University of Kentucky. Noel, a 6-11 center, led the NCAA in blocks per game with 4.4 stuffs. He averaged 10.5 points and 9.5 rebounds per game this past season. Noel is still healing a torn ACL, but scouts expect him to fully recover from the injury. The 19-year old will likely miss a portion of his rookie season, but may return sometime in December or January. ESPN’s Chad Ford writes: “Noel is a long, super-athletic 18-year-old who is already a dominant shot-blocker and rebounder.” Noel will slot in nicely in a four-man rotation of Anderson Varejao, Tristan Thompson, himself, and Tyler Zeller.
The Philadelphia 76ers landed the 11th pick in the NBA Draft. An uprising in mock drafts suggests that new GM Sam Hinkie will take power forward/center Cody Zeller from Indiana. Zeller is the brother of Phoenix’ Luke Zeller, as well as Clevelands’ Tyler Zeller. Cody Zelelr presents a strong offensive game, often times dominating the post in the NCAA Tournament. Like his brother Tyler, Cody Zeller runs the floor extremely well. Ford writes:
“He’s got terrific footwork and is as fundamentally sound as any big man in the NCAA, and he’s shown a surprising ability to score in transition.”
Should the Sixer re-sign center Andrew Bynum, Zeller will play alongside him in the paint. A team of Jrue Holiday, Evan Turner, Thad Young, Zeller, and Bynum would take the court for the Sixers’ opener. Without Bynum, Zeller is more than capable of anchoring the post for Philly. Nick Young would step in at SG, as Turner and Thad Young slide to SF and PF, leaving Zeller at center.
After landing Kyrie Irving in 2011, Dion Waiters in 2012, and the top pick this year, Cleveland looks to be on a one-way ticket back to the playoffs. The Sixers, however, should make themselves comfortable. Philadelphia fans may need to get used to seeing Joshua Harris in New York at the end of May.