Noel is recovering from surgery for a torn ACL in his left knee, but is still listed atop several mock drafts.
If the Magic are satisfied after exhaustive research, they wouldn't be afraid to take the former Kentucky star center with their lottery pick, according to a source with knowledge of the Magic's thinking.
When I watch the pre-injury Noel, I see a little of young Dwight Howard in his game.
He's a skinny 19-year-old who can dominate the game defensively, but he's a work in progress offensively.
That was the same scouting report we heard on Dwight when he was coming out of high school.
If it weren't for the knee, Noel would be the top pick, hands down. Any team would have his name already printed on a jersey if the ping-pong balls bounced their way.
Pairing Noel's defense and shot-blocking with Nik Vucevic's offense and rebounding is a tantalizing scenario for rebuilding Orlando.
Factor in another lottery pick in a potent 2014 class along with Noel, and the Magic might be back in the playoffs sooner than expected if they can land a star free agent or two.
But can the Magic afford to take Noel, gambling that he'll return to form?
Hennigan backed off Bynum in a possible Howard deal. He was proved correct as Bynum missed the entire season for the Philadelphia 76ers.
High-level athletes have recovered from ACL injuries to never miss a beat. And the 6-foot-11, 215-pound Noel would have all next season to rebuild his knee and gain weight.
Noel was injured Feb. 12 against Florida in Gainesville and had surgery exactly a month later. The operation was performed by James Andrews, the doctor to the stars.
By virtue of owning the NBA's worst record, the Magic can't fall farther than No. 4 in the draft. If Noel is there at No. 4, taking him would sound more plausible, given this ordinary draft class. But can they do it at No. 1?
By the June 27 draft, it will only have been 3 ½ months since Noel had surgery.
The Portland Trail Blazers picked injury plagued center Greg Oden over forward Kevin Durant in 2007. That decision set back the Blazers for years and accelerated the future for the Oklahoma City Thunder, who selected Durant at No. 2.
Too bad this wasn't the summer of 2014 for the Magic. Experts say this draft lacks a superstar, but next year's class offers Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker.