UPDATE: So all of those who predicted Nerlens Noel to the Magic were wrong. Kudos to Chad Ford of ESPN.com, Mitch Lawrence of the NY Daily News and our own Josh Robbins for correctly predicting the Magic would select Victor Oladipo.

Nerlens Noel to the Orlando Magic? As the minutes tick down toward tonight's NBA draft, we took a quick trip around the web to check out many of the final mock drafts. Based on our quick exploration, more than a few folks are thinking Orlando may be drafting Noel. What do you think? We'll all find out around 7:40 p.m, perhaps

From ESPN.com --  Chad Ford

  • Orlando’s pick: Victor Oladipo, SG, Indiana
  • What they say: I continue to hear that if the Cavs pass on Noel, the Magic are leaning strongly toward selecting Noel with the No. 2 pick in the draft. If Noel is off the board? Things get a little tougher. Some favor Oladipo. Others McLemore. While McLemore is a stronger offensive player, Oladipo's defense and his crazy motor hold a strong appeal for the Magic. Culture matters in Orlando and I think Oladipo trumps McLemore by an edge.

From SportingNews.com --  Sean Deveney

  • Orlando’s pick: Nerlens Noel, PF/C, Kentucky
  • What they say: There’s still a chance that the Magic won’t make this pick, and will instead trade down. And there’s the chance that the Cavs will go with Noel at No. 1. But if he’s there, Orlando’s got to grab him.

From USAToday.com --  Steve Kyler

  • Orlando’s pick: Nerlens Noel, PF/C, Kentucky
  • What they say: Though he is coming off knee reconstruction surgery, Noel superior defensive player with elite level shot blocking and rebounding ability. Rehab on his knee will keep him out of summer league and probably the early part of the season.

From SI.com -- Chris Mannix

  • Orlando’s pick: Ben McLemore, SG, Kansas
  • What they say: This is another spot where there are a lot of smokescreens going up. McLemore has not been particularly impressive in workouts, and his recent decision to dump his agent raised red flags. But before we get all worked up about McLemore's poor workouts, remember this: A smart executive isn't going to put much stock in them, not after a solid college season. Several executives believe that McLemore, a prototypical 2-guard, has All-Star potential. As SI.com has been reporting, the Magic continue to work the Clippers for a deal that would send Eric Bledsoe to Orlando for a package headlined by Arron Afflalo, but Los Angeles prefers to hold on to Bledsoe for now in the hopes of landing a bigger offer, a source said.

From NY Daily News, Mitch Lawrence

  • Orlando’s pick: Victor Oladipo, SG, Indiana
  • What they say: The Magic’s rebuilding program gets an explosive player with a great motor.

From FoxSports.com
  • Orlando’s pick: Nerlens Noel, PF/C, Kentucky
  • What they say: With a new(er) GM in place, Rob Hennigan, they can take a long-term approach to building their team, so they'll likely look to add the player they feel has the most long-term potential. Patience will be the key for any team taking Noel, who may not even play next season. Ben McLemore remains a possibility here, despite reports that he struggled mightily in workouts. Victor Oladipo continues to be mentioned at this pick as well. Noel could also still end up going first but his inability to contribute immediately conflicts with Cleveland's desire to win next season.


From Cleveland.com -- Chris Fedor

  • Orlando’s pick: Nerlens Noel, PF/C, Kentucky
  • What they say: The player Orlando needs more than anyone else is Ben McLemore. With him off the board, their attention turns to Noel. The Magic was 24th in the NBA in blocks and 21st in the NBA in points allowed. They need a defensive difference maker like Noel inside. Though he is an offensive liability and too thin to play center in the NBA, Noel is a hard worker, gives maximum effort on every play and would be able to focus on the defensive side of the floor while Orlando's other big man, Nik Vucevic, continues to blossom on offense.  

And, finally, we check with the Orlando Sentinel's Josh Robbins, for his final thoughts on the draft tonight:

  • The Orlando Magic almost certainly will spend the next several hours waiting to see if any teams improve existing trade offers and if another potential trade partner emerges.

    From the Magic’s perspective, the Cleveland Cavaliers are the focal point of the draft, with the Cavaliers’ decision on what to do with the first overall pick obviously impacting the Magic’s options.

    If Nerlens Noel is available when the Magic are on the clock, he will be difficult for the Magic to pass up.

    If the Cavs select Noel, the Magic’s choices likely will come down to Indiana shooting guard Victor Oladipo, Kansas shooting guard Ben McLemore and Georgetown small forward Otto Porter Jr. Of those three players, I think the Magic will select Oladipo.

    Even as the Magic listen for trade offers, it will be difficult for them to secure a 2014 first-round pick from a team likely to be in the lottery.


Roger Simmons is the executive sports editor for the Orlando Sentinel. You can reach him via email at rsimmons@orlandosentinel.com. Or follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/@rogersimmons. Become a fan of the Orlando Sentinel Sports Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/orlandosentinelsports