Kentucky's Noel, Goodwin drafted in first round, then traded

NBA Commissioner David Stern, left, shook hands with former Kentucky star Nerlens Noel, who was selected sixth overall by the New Orleans Pelicans in the first round of the NBA Draft on Thursday. Noel had his No. 3 UK jersey sewn to the lining of his suit.
NBA Commissioner David Stern, left, shook hands with former Kentucky star Nerlens Noel, who was selected sixth overall by the New Orleans Pelicans in the first round of the NBA Draft on Thursday. Noel had his No. 3 UK jersey sewn to the lining of his suit. AP

Nerlens Noel and Archie Goodwin got what they wanted but not in the way most expected.

Both were selected in the first round of Thursday night's NBA Draft at Brooklyn, N.Y.

The two University of Kentucky freshmen entered the draft after one season of college basketball hoping their choices would pay off in guaranteed first-round pro contracts.

That part of the dream was fulfilled.

Noel, whose decision was widely viewed as a wise one after the 6-foot-11 center suffered a season-ending knee injury in February, was projected for months as the No. 1 overall pick.

Goodwin, who was UK's leading scorer last season but struggled with his shot, was viewed to be a second-round pick at best.

Although left knee surgery is expected to sideline Noel until December, he was considered to be Cleveland's choice as the No. 1 pick.

Forty-five minutes into the draft, having watched five picks go by the board, Noel was finally selected at No. 6 by the New Orleans Pelicans.

There was more unexpected news to come for Kentucky's shot-blocking sensation.

Just when Noel thought he would head to New Orleans to be paired with another former Kentucky big man in Anthony Davis, the rug was pulled out by a report saying Noel would be traded.

According to the report by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports and later confirmed by multiple sources, Noel was traded to the Philadelphia 76ers. In return, the Pelicans reportedly received All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday and the 42nd pick in Tuesday's draft. In addition to Noel, the 76ers were to get a 2014 first-round pick from New Orleans.

Two and a half hours after Noel's selection, the Oklahoma City Thunder drafted Goodwin with the second-to-last pick in the first round. Goodwin was immediately traded to the Phoenix Suns, according to reports.

"I feel great," Noel said during his ESPN interview upon being drafted. "It's going to be fun to play with Anthony. It's going to be a shot-blocking party when I get down there."

Noel's trade to Philadelphia means Kentucky fans will never get to see that tantalizing pairing. It came as just one more surprise in a night of big ones.

Instead of Noel, the Cavaliers drafted UNLV power forward Anthony Bennett with the No. 1 pick. The Orlando Magic took Indiana swingman Victor Oladipo at No. 2. Then came the Washington Wizards, picking Georgetown forward Otto Porter No. 3.

The Charlotte Bobcats went for a big man, but selected Indiana's Cody Zeller at No. 4. Phoenix then chose Maryland center Alex Len at No. 5.

Finally, the Pelicans saved the day for Noel, snapping him up with the No. 6 pick and preventing a further slide in front of a national TV audience. Noel was accompanied at the draft in the Barclays Center by UK Coach John Calipari.

"We're like, come on now, what's going on here?" Calipari told ESPN of the unexpected 45-minute wait to see Noel drafted.

"I'm really happy for the family," Calipari said of the Noels. "They're ready for that next step."

As the No. 6 pick, Noel is guaranteed a total of $5,406,200 in his first two seasons under the league's rookie salary scale. As the No. 1 pick, Bennett gets $9,073,500 over the same period.

Noel averaged 10.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, 4.4 blocks and 2.1 steals in 24 games before suffering a season-ending knee injury against Florida. Noel set a school record with 12 blocked shots in a victory over Ole Miss and finished the season with 105 blocks, which was good enough for second place on UK's single-season list behind Davis.

Noel didn't seem upset at his fall down the draft board, hugging his mother and shaking hands with Calipari.

"They've got a great organization there, too," Noel said of the Sixers. "I'm just staying positive about everything. It shows how much confidence they have in me. I'm just looking to get down there and work hard."

The Sixers have decided to hire San Antonio assistant coach Brett Brown as their new head coach, the New York Daily News reported.

Brown replaces Doug Collins, who was not retained after this past season. Brown played his college basketball at Boston University under Rick Pitino.

The 18-year-old Goodwin averaged 14.1 points in his only season as a Wildcat. The 6-5 guard struggled from three-point range, making 17 of 64 attempts (26.6 percent). He was the only UK player to start all 33 games last season.

The Suns view Goodwin as a potential point guard.

"Obviously he's going to need to learn the game better," new Suns coach Jeff Hornacek said when Phoenix worked out Goodwin, according to the Valley of the Suns blog. "He's used to being a scorer. He can still be a scorer but he's going to have to be, more the mental part of the game ... a point guard. Really see the game, see how it develops, not only for himself but for his teammates. When you got a young kid like that, those are the guys you can kind of train. You can tell he has a feel."

Calipari has had 11 one-and-done players in four seasons at UK, and they've all been drafted in the first round.

As the No. 29 pick, Goodwin is guaranteed a total of $1,813,900 over his first two seasons.

Bennett became the first Canadian to be the No. 1 pick.

There was suspense right until the end, either because the Cavs were unsure who they wanted or were trying to trade the pick.

David Stern, booed heavily in his final draft as commissioner, added to the surprise of the moment by pausing slightly before announcing the Cavs' pick, their first at No. 1 since taking All-Star Kyrie Irving in 2011.

"I'm just as surprised as anyone else," Bennett said.

Kansas guard Ben McLemore, another player who was considered a potential top-three pick, also dropped, going seventh to Sacramento.

Hosting the draft at Barclays Center, the Nets made the biggest news. A person with knowledge of the talks confirmed a Yahoo Sports report that the Nets and Celtics were working on a trade that would bring Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to Brooklyn.

ESPN reported earlier that Dwight Howard was unlikely to return to the Los Angeles Lakers when he becomes a free agent next month.

Dieng, Siva, Canaan picked

■ The Utah Jazz chose Louisville junior center Gorgui Dieng at No. 21, then traded him to the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Dieng averaged 9.8 points, 9.4 rebounds and 2.5 blocks during his junior season at Louisville. He was named the Big East Defensive Player of the Year.

Dieng's teammate, Peyton Siva was picked No. 56 overall by the Detroit Pistons.

■ Houston selected Murray State guard Isaiah Canaan with the 34th selection, the fourth in the second round.

Canaan averaged 21.8 points and 4.3 assists during his senior season at Murray State.


First round

Nerlens Noel (Kentucky)

No. 6, New Orleans (traded to Philadelphia 76ers)

Gorgui Dieng (Louisville)

No. 21, Utah Jazz(traded to Minnesota T-wolves)

Archie Goodwin (Kentucky)

No. 29, Oklahoma City Thunder(traded to Phoenix Suns)

Second round

Isaiah Canaan (Murray St.)

No. 34, Houston Rockets

Peyton Siva (Louisville)

No. 56, Detroit Pistons

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