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NBA Mock Draft: Cleveland accepts risk, takes Nerlens Noel with top pick

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SB Nation's NBA Network conducted a mock draft with bloggers from each team site making or trading their "team's" pick. We begin with the first pick in the 2013 NBA Mock Draft with Fear the Sword selecting Kentucky center Nerlens Noel.

The Cavs couldn't risk passing on this game-changing haircut.
The Cavs couldn't risk passing on this game-changing haircut.

NBA Mock Draft Pick #1 -- Nerlens Noel, Center, Kentucky

SB Nation's Cavs blog Fear the Sword explains the pick:

For us, this is the easiest pick in the draft. We're operating under the assumption that Nerlens Noel's knee is just fine and his ACL recovery is coming along smoothly. Everything that his doctors and trainers have said in the past few days indicate that that's the truth and we have no reason to believe otherwise. Once that is settled, this is a no-brainer.

Noel is a "freak of nature" athlete, has an enormous wingspan, a terrific motor, and incredible defensive instincts. He's one of the best shot blockers that I've ever seen and that fills a huge need for the Cavaliers.

Cleveland allowed one of the highest FG% in the restricted area last season and a rim-protector like Noel is exactly what they need.

In this draft, every prospect will have question marks so the Cavs will happily deal with Noel's lack of a polished offensive game and need to put on muscle. He's 19-years-old, probably isn't done developing physically, and has plenty of time to develop as an offensive threat. With Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters in the backcourt, the Cavs can afford let their front court focus more on improving one of the worst defenses in the NBA.

Plus: Noel has a sweet flat top.

SB Nation Scouting Report: Nerlens Noel

Updated 2013 NBA Mock Draft Board:

1. Cleveland Cavaliers: NERLENS NOEL
2. Orlando Magic
3. Washington Wizards
4. Charlotte Hornets
5. Phoenix Suns
6. New Orleans Pelicans
7. Sacramento Kings
8. Detroit Pistons
9. Minnesota Timberwolves
10. Portland Trail Blazers
11. Philadelphia 76ers
12. Oklahoma City Thunder
13. Dallas Mavericks
14. Utah Jazz
15. Milwaukee Bucks
16. Boston Celtics
17. Atlanta Hawks
18. Atlanta Hawks
19. Cleveland Cavaliers
20. Chicago Bulls
21. Utah Jazz
22. Brooklyn Nets
23. Indiana Pacers
24. New York Knicks
25. Los Angeles Clippers
26. Minnesota Timberwolves
27. Denver Nuggets
28. San Antonio Spurs
29. Oklahoma City Thunder
30. Phoenix Suns