Nerlens Noel might be the top prospect in the 2013 NBA Draft class. The 6-foot-10 center averaged 10.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 2.1 steals, and 4.4 blocked shots in his lone season with the Kentucky Wildcats before tearing the ACL in his left knee on February 12th.
Concern about the injury has led some analysts to wonder how far Noel might fall in the Draft. Whichever team has the first overall pick will have to weigh the rewards of Noel's talent against the risk of further injury.
The Orlando Magic, who have the best odds of landing the no. 1 overall pick, will certainly due their due diligence on Noel. And according to Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel, the Magic "wouldn't be afraid" to draft Noel if "exhaustive research" indicates that he's healthy.
The Magic, as Schmitz notes, have previously passed on players who had injury concerns. They elected not to target Andrew Bynum from the Los Angeles Lakers when they traded Dwight Howard to L.A. in August, and two months before that deal, they selected Andrew Nicholson ahead of Jared Sullinger in the NBA Draft. Bynum never played in the 2012/13 season, while Sullinger made 45 appearances for the Boston Celtics before undergoing season-ending back surgery.