The NBA draft is just a few weeks away, and rumors are already swirling about what the Cleveland Cavaliers want to do with the No. 1 pick.
The Cavs pulled off the improbable when their ball was pulled, making them the first team to pick first in the NBA draft for three out of four years. While there are three top prospects in this year’s draft — Andrew Wiggins, Joel Embiid, and Jabari Parker — it was unclear just which likely superstar they wanted.
While both Parker and Wigging were once seen as front-runners, new rumors indicate that the Cavaliers are ready to pick Embiid — as long as he’s healthy. The Kansas big man missed most of the 2013 season with a back injury, and there is still concern that the injury may be lingering.
“While the Cavs have been mum on who they will take No. 1 in the draft — various factions within the organization have been stumping for Embiid, Andrew Wiggins or Jabari Parker — there is a growing consensus within the organization that if the Cavs’ doctors give Embiid’s back the green light, he’ll be the choice of general manager David Griffin for the No. 1 pick,” ESPN insider Chad Ford noted.
Joel Embiid has drawn comparisons to Hakeem Olajuwon, and big men are at such a premium in the NBA that many believe the Cavaliers would be foolish to pass him up.
Ryan Blake, senior director of NBA scouting operations, said he believes it will come down to Wiggins of Embiid. But he added that the 2014 NBA draft will be difficult to predict given the depth through both rounds.
“It’s absolutely deep,” he told Sports Illustrated. “After the 60 picks in the two rounds, teams will have players they want for the summer league whom they feel could make the team in the fall. Agents’ phones are going to be ringing off the hook. The cliché about beauty being in the eye of the beholder is true here, because we have that type of quality.”
With no clear-cut No. 1 and a deep number of potential NBA contributors, the 2014 NBA draft rumors are likely to continue until the draft itself on Thursday, June 26.