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Explaining "Drafting" Nerlens Noel

Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

In trying to be more explanatory instead of incendiary, let's quickly explain why this tweet is wrong and go about correcting it.

Yes, technically the New Orleans then-Hornets/now Pelicans selected Nerlens Noel as the sixth overall pick in the 2013 Draft, were he was immediately traded to the 76ers.

However, this was done as a technicality. As reported on the broadcast, an agreement was in place at the time of the pick to trade Jrue Holiday for Noel. Later, it was revealed that the trade was Noel and the Pelicans' pick in the next year's draft for Holiday.

The reason the distinction is important is because of something called the Stepien Rule, named after the owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 1980s named Ted Stepien who consistently saw no value in draft picks and traded them for veterans. The rule prevents a team from trading first round draft picks in consecutive years.

Noel and the 2014 New Orleans pick (eventually revealed as *noted by the first comment* Elfrid Payton, who was traded for Dario Saric) would count for two selections in consecutive seasons, which would make the trade illegal. However, if you trade the player (Noel, in this case) after the pick is made, it doesn't count against the rule. So that is why New Orleans executed the trade after the official selection. If anyone ever asks again, just send them here.

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