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Report: Nerlens Noel probably not slipping past Magic at No. 2

Jun 25, 2013, 10:00 AM EDT

Nerlens Noel AP

The NBA Draft is in two days, and we still don’t know who will be the No. 1 pick. Nerlens Noel has been the favorite, but every hour that passes without the Cavaliers tipping their hand, the more likely it seems they’ll pick someone else.

Noel, at least publically, hasn’t fretted about that possibility. Maybe it’s because he knows he wouldn’t fall far.

Chad Ford of ESPN:

Sources close to the Orlando Magic told ESPN.com on Saturday that if the Cavs pass on Kentucky big man Nerlens Noel, the Magic are leaning strongly toward selecting him with the No. 2 pick in the draft.

If it weren’t for his knee injury, Noel would definitely be the top pick in this draft. Even with it – assuming the public perception is true, that Noel’s knee is healing just fine and doesn’t seemed destined for more problems – I’d still choose Noel at No. 1. He was just that impressive at Kentucky, showing incredible athleticism, strong defense and an improving offensive game.

For the Magic, Noel would come with an added bonus. They’re not contending next season, anyway, so if he misses part of the season, that would help the Magic’s lottery positioning in 2014. The Cavaliers, on the other hand, seem to have a stronger desire to make the playoffs in 2014.

The Cavaliers will definitely get their No. 1 choice (barring a trade), but the Magic might, too.

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