(Update: Reports are coming out that Embiid passed his physical and have no future concerns)
The Cleveland Cavaliers are the lynch pin of the 2014 NBA Draft as they hold the #1 pick. Today possible target Joel Embiid visited Cleveland to meet with the team and to have a a physical. The physical was the most important part of the trip as his back injury may be the only thing keeping Embiid from being the #1 overall pick. According to one report, via Twitter, the Cavs may have made that decision and all trade scenarios and other targets are off the board:
Several NBA officials told me the Cavs have no desire to unload the top pick and have honed in on Joel Embiid.
— Gery Woelfel (@GeryWoelfel) June 11, 2014
Woelfel writes for a paper covering the Milwaukee Bucks, who hold the second pick and are gathering as much information about what the Cavs might do as possible. The timing of the Tweet is interesting. Prior to his visit it would of been met with derision as his back injury concerns are clearly #1 to be cleared up, and until a physical was able to be performed no decision could be made. Yet is it possible that Embiid’s people, agents, handlers, etc, want to pump up the value of their player? The timing of the report suggests so.
For the Cavaliers a decision on who they want to draft should be based on game tape, projections, fit with the team and health history. For Embiid health history is the #1 concern. For Jabari Parker fit with Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters is likely the biggest concern. Andrew Wiggins concern for the Cavs is his projection, can he put his physical talents together and become elite?
Take many reports with a grain of salt. All parties, including other teams drafting after the Cavs, agents, and the Cavs themselves all have motives to provide information to the public. The Cavs could be trying to drum up interest in the #1 pick by saying it is off limits now or trying to get someone to move up for Embiid. If you hear reports after Parker and Wiggins visit that sound similar, don’t be surprised as well.
Yet Embiid does fit a huge need for the Cavs. He is a big guy who can protect the paint, run the floor like a guard, can dribble the ball and has shown range out to the college 3 point line. He is a perfect fit for 2 needs for the Cavs: rim protection and shooting for position. Embiid, similar to Zydrunas Ilgauskas, can open up the paint for the Cavs driving players to make plays near the rim or make opponents suffer for giving him a 10 to 15 foot jumper.
Are you sold on Embiid, or this report? Or has Wiggins or Parker got your vote?