In his newly published NBA Mock Draft, Joe Kotoch over at SheridanHoops.com has echoed some of the recent suggestions that the Cavaliers are not sold on Nerlens Noel as the number one pick in this draft due to his knee injury and positional concerns. Instead, Kotoch has the Cavaliers drafting sophomore Maryland center Alex Len.
“All season long Len has intrigued Cavs executive Zydrunas Ilgauskas with his skills, length, and upside. It appears Ilgauskas may be swaying others in Cleveland to join him on Len’s bandwagon.
It is easy to see why pairing Len with Kyrie Irving could change the fortunes of this downtrodden franchise. Len is a long and lengthy defender who can block shots and rebound, though not at the impactful level of a healthy-Noel.
Len’s signature right now is his developed offensive game in the post and facing the basket. With Irving and Len, Cleveland could have a really impressive pick-and-pop game.”
Len has injury concerns of his own after he suffered a partial stress fracture in his left ankle. With recovery set at 4-6 months back in early May when surgery was conducted, Len will be cutting in close in terms of being ready for opening night himself.
The Terrapin big man averaged 11.9 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks this past season while flashing a pick-and-pop game and the ability to athletically defend the pick and roll as well as inside the paint.
Ilgauskas, you will recall, returned to the Cavaliers two seasons ago as a special assistant to General Manager Chris Grant after a 13-year career with the first 12 of those seasons in Cleveland. Big Z battled back from a set of multiple injuries to both feet to play at least 62 games each year after 2001 and 73 or more games in a six-year stretch from 2002-2008, which encompassed the start of the best postseason run in team history.
This will certainly not be the last name tagged with the Cavaliers as the top selection as Ben McLemore, Otto Porter, Noel, Len, and Victor Oladipo have all been mentioned as a possible top selection.