Earlier this week, the selection order for June 27th’s annual NBA Daft was finalized with Cleveland winning the top spot for the second time in three seasons. Naturally, within minutes of the finalized order being revealed, the internet exploded with its usual flood of mock drafts and conspiracy rumor. The news of Cleveland being awarded the Draft’s top spot also brought something else to the media forefront; opinion. Like everyone else, Bill Livingston of the Cleveland Plain Dealer has an opinion on who the Cavaliers should draft with their first overall pick, and contrary to popular opinion, it’s not Nerlens Noel.
In his article, Livingston cited his reasons for not wanting Noel with the #1 overall pick and wasn’t shy in doing so. In the article’s first two sentences he stated, “Nerlens Noel, who is rehabbing a torn ACL, has no offensive game and will not play for a head coach here who can teach it to him. Oh, yeah. He’s also too skinny to play his position in the NBA.” Which, if we’re being honest, are two valid criticisms of Noel’s game. Later in the article, Livingston stated what Cleveland truly needed on their roster. “The Cavs need a shooting guard/small forward who doesn’t shoot 42.1 percent for his career. In other words, someone other than Alonzo Gee.”
While offensive firepower is always a valued trait in any league, college or professional, the numbers suggest that Cleveland is in desperate need of some defense. The Cavs finished 27th in the NBA in defensive efficiency, allowing 109.4 points per-100 possessions. Cleveland also ranked 29th in effective field goal defense, 25th in defensive rebounding percentage, and 25th in defensive free throw rate. These are three categories in which Noel excels. If you’re interested in reading Livingston’s entire article, it can be found here.