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Cavs say “Nope” to Noel…Bennett No. 1 Pick

By RAY ROBINSON

By RAY ROBINSON | 7/16/2013, 9:33 p.m.

The Cavs were as smug as a bug in a rug just days away from the 2013 NBA Draft. Most insiders and pundits had the Cavs taking a big man with their first pick in this year’s draft, with big man, Nerlens Noel, leading the pack on most scorecards.

But, surprisingly, they passed over Noel and another up and coming center, Alex Len, who had also made quite a name for himself on the collegiate circuit.

Instead, the Cavaliers’ front office gave a nod of approval to Anthony Bennett, a freshman forward from UNLV. Bennett was voted the Mountain West Conference Freshman of the Year and was a star on Canada’s junior national teams.

Although Noel’s status wasn’t etched in stone, he was still the top seed and almost a shoe-in for the top pick, however the Cavs, and a few other teams passed on Noel and Len because they are both coming off injuries.

Oddly enough, Bennett is also injured (recovering from shoulder surgery) and couldn’t even work out for any NBA scouts or teams. Still, the Cavs felt confident enough about his play that they made the choice anyway. It may have been based on the fact that he averaged 16.1 points, 8.1 rebounds and 1.0 assists per game.

Len tumbled to the fifth pick and was grabbed by Phoenix, while Noel fell even further to the sixth pick and now calls New Orleans home. Noel’s demise and fast fall came at the heel of a torn ACL that he suffered while defending a play back in February.

Born in Toronto, Bennett became the first Canadian to be drafted No.1 in an NBA draft.

NBA Commissioner, David Stern, who will be retiring in February, was constantly booed throughout the evening’s festivities, eventually turning over the reins to Deputy Commissioner, Adam Silver, to complete the final picks.

For his final pick as commissioner, Stern was greeted on stage by Hakeem ‘The Dream” Olajuwon, who was the No.1 pick in 1984, Stern’s first year as commissioner.

Bennett was in town the very next day to meet with members of the media and to hopefully find a bright future playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers.