Despite the bleak state of the BBN right now, Draft Express’ Jonathan Givony says that Nerlens Noel’s draft stock is essentially unchanged:
“My take on Nerlens Noel NBA stock in wake of the ACL tear: he’s the same prospect today he was yesterday. Still goes 1-3. Nothing changed. Teams will want their doctors to have a thorough look at the knee, but if Noel is only out until December/January, its not the end of the world. Some people are saying that Noel was a lock at #1 before this, but I disagree with that. Depends on who has the pick, how others finish, etc.”
Givony also referenced the work of Kevin Pelton, an NBA analyst for ESPN. Pelton examined the effect of ACL tears on different NBA players’ careers and found that players actually improve their hustle stats (rebounding, blocks, steals…all of Noel’s strengths) after an ACL tear.
Those are encouraging words for Noel, who will now face the decision of leaving after this year or coming back to school. Despite the somewhat selfish desires for him to return (and yes, they are selfish), it is in Nerlens’ best interest to leave school, enter the draft, and rehab with an NBA team. Not only would that ensure the best treatment possible on the NBA’s dime, but it would also avoid the risk of returning to school and re-injuring the knee. Nerlens’ unique shot blocking abilities will still make him an incredibly desirable prospect, most likely still top five, and the timing of the injury gives him the potential to return by mid-season.
It’s a tough day, but let’s remember Nerlens’ encouraging words. If there’s one player who can make a major comeback, it’s him.