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Nerlens Noel

Awesomed into submission: A live 2013 NBA Draft recap

“Your enthusiasm is dwindling.”
With a wry smile that couldn’t even begin to convey how much he was enjoying himself, David Stern baited an exhausted New York audience who had already witnessed more excitement in a NBA Draft than the 30 the Commissioner presided over before it. Year after year, a sterotypical New York crowd had booed Stern vociferously with every single pick, pointing more attention towards Stern than the selections he was announcing. And why not? Year after year, the picks were largely settled in the weeks and months beforehand. NBA drafts follow a formula more times than not, replicating mock drafts that have become more a science than good clean fun.
The 2013 NBA Draft couldn’t have been any less formulaic than if Walter White disassembled it himself. At 7:20pm, just 10 minutes before the event started, I turned to my friend Kevin and asked, “How do we still not know who the number one pick is going to be?” I scrolled through my phone, gloriously hooked up with the Barclays Center free premium wi-fi (thanks Mikhail!), trying to get an indication through Twitter one way or another. Nerlens Noel. Victor Oladipo. Alex Len. Ben McLemore. No one seemed to stand out more than another. Kevin, clad in his black Orlando Magic shirt and perhaps the last bastion of central Florida fandom in NYC, giddily looked at me and announced, “If we get Oladipo, I’m going to LOSE it!”
Looking around, everyone in a surprisingly packed crowd was rolling through their phones, hoping to find the latest #Wojbomb before everyone else. No such luck. My search was interrupted by a surround sound booming chorus of “BOOOOS” hailing down on an entering Commissioner, who made a few opening remarks that I can’t begin to recap–because I couldn’t hear them. The crowd was booing that loudly.
Compared to last year, there seemed to be a difference. Fresh off the lockout, The Veto and LeBron James and the Miami Heat winning their first title, there was a distinct taste of actual hatred in the air. The crowd at the Prudential Center in 2012 voiced their displeasure with the Commish, booing him with as much vigor for the 1st pick as the 30th. People were mad at a season nearly cancelled and for some of us, the sense that Stern had acted like Vince McMahon in squashing a league-changing trade.
Last night, the anger from last June had dissipated, with the jeers taking on a tone clearly reverential in nature. There was almost a sense of nostalgia knowing that this was the last time we were going to be able to boo him, and we owed it to the man to show him as much disrespectful respect as humanly possible.
(Read the rest over at Silver Screen & Roll!)

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Instant Trade Analysis: Jrue Holiday to New Orleans, Nerlens Noel to Philly

Philadelphia 76ers get: C Nerlens Noel, 2014 protected first-round draft pick
New Orleans Pelicans get: PG Jrue Holiday, PG Pierre Jackson (2013 42nd overall pick)
There were around a dozen trades last night, and similar to the Nets-Celtics deal, this pact between the Sixers and newly christened Pelicans declared a direction for both franchises.
The Sixers, a team one win away from the Eastern Conference Finals two seasons ago, were blowing it up.
The Pelicans meanwhile, are looking for their rebuilding movement to bear fruit just two years after it started.
Whether or not this deal is labeled a win or a bust for Philly completely depends on what you think of Jrue Holiday. The Pelicans’ first ever starting point guard just finished his breakthrough season, leading the Sixers in scoring (17.7 ppg) and assists (8.0 apg) and making his first All-Star game appearance. He was one of the lone bright spots for an awful year in Philadelphia in which Evan Turner’s development once again stagnated, coach Doug Collins resigned and all Andrew Bynum headlines revolved around his hair. Holiday was a very good, though perhaps not elite, two-way player whose excellent defensive chops resembled how well he orchestrated a limited Philly offense. … Read more...

MAMBINO’s NBA Mock Draft, Part 1

With an epic NBA Finals in the books and new legacies defined, the most exciting part of the season continues on with the 2013 NBA Draft.


Most prognosticators have called this weakest draft since Kenyon Martin, Darius Miles and the other dregs of the NBA sewer system bogged up our beloved L in 2000. However, what I’m seeing is a talent pool that might not have a definite superstar in it’s upper echelons, but rather a sizeable amount of solid role players and borderline All-Stars. Not too shabby.


To sate our endless appetite for anything smelling like the NBA, us hoophead junkies assembled like Voltron this week to do our annual mock draft. We all were assigned teams and told to get into the minds of each team’s GM, and pick not only along talent, but also need. The MAMBINO crew will be there in person this Thursday to see what we got right, what we got terribly wrong and yes, if we can boo David Stern as lustily with the 1st pick as we do the 30th. It’s the Commissioner’s last draft before his retirement, so we’ll make sure to emerge from Barclays Center with our vocal chords raw. Be sure to follow us on Twitter for some in-arena perspective @TheGreatMambino. Today we’ll cover the lottery picks in part 1, and tomorrow we’ll do the rest of the first round in part 2.


Without further ado….let’s go!


With the number 1 pick, the Cleveland Cavaliers select Anthony Bennett, forward from UNLV


AO: Obviously, lots of rumors surrounding this pick.  Looking at it from a pure “need” standpoint, Bennett is the right mix of safe + potential.  Sure, Cleveland doesn’t have a foundation in the middle, although Anderson Varajeo and Tyler Zeller are both competent, the former being a borderline All-Star when healthy.  But I’m not sold on the bigs in this draft.


Noel and Len have both been rumored to be the target for CLE, but they are both projects, not ready to come in and contribute right away.  CLE is set at the 1 and 2 with Mr. Irving and Mr. Waiters.  The front court is mostly unproven and young.  Why would you want more of that?  Why assume that risk of drafting a bust, especially when everyone agrees the ceilings are pretty low w/ Noel and Len.  Instead, I’d take a guy in Bennett who can play the 3 and leverage his size at that position.  He’s a good enough shooter to be a legit 3, but will also be capable of playing the stretch 4 for at least some minutes.  Lastly, I think Dan Gilbert and co like to play things close to the vest (except when the best player in the NBA leaves his team on national TV, then, yea, he gets a bit “public”).  No one saw Waiters coming last year.  Who knows what Tricky Dan has behind his bowtie?


With the 2nd pick, the Orlando Magic select Nerlens Noel, center from the University of Kentucky.

KOBEsh: A debatable number 1 pick, Noel (if healthy) could be an absolute defensive destroyer for any NBA team. Orlando has found a hidden gem in Nikola Vucevic, whose rebounding is certainly underrated, but can’t be depended upon as shot blocking intimidation in the paint. Pairing him with Noel could make for a formidable Magic frontline, with Nerlens serving as the Tyson Chandler (the best case scenario, by far for Noel) to Vucevic’s offensive capabilities. By drafting the center, Orlando is essentially punting next season (as Noel is still recovering from a torn ACL), and setting themselves up for another lottery pick in the STACKED 2014 Draft. Not a bad … Read more...