It only took a few weeks, but ESPN.com’s Chad Ford finally succumbed to the mythical lore known as Joel Hans (Hans!) Embiid. In typical Fordian manner, the long-time NBA Draft expert hedged his bets, but the Kansas University big man presently has his named penciled in next to Cleveland Cavaliers in his latest Mock Draft.
Wiggins, Parker and Embiid all are in the mix here. On lottery night, a Cavs source told me that they had Parker ranked highest on their board all year because of his ability to come in and make an immediate impact and believe Embiid has the most upside of anyone in the draft and fits a long-term need for them. However, the source felt that Wiggins in the end would be the compromise pick — someone who has both elite upside as well as a player who can play (especially defensively) impactful minutes right out of the gate.
That said, if Embiid is cleared by the Cavs’ doctors, and if general manager David Griffin can convince owner Dan Gilbert to be patient and wait on Embiid, I think he gets the nod here. But those are still two big ifs. While Embiid certainly looked healthy enough during a workout in Santa Monica, Calif., a few weeks ago, until the Cavs’ doctors green light him, we just don’t know. And Gilbert is anxious for the Cavs to be a playoff team. Drafting the guy who’s likely to have the least impact next season is going to be a tough sell. At the end of the day I think the Cavs would prefer to trade the pick, but unless they are getting someone like Kevin Love or LaMarcus Aldridge in return, I don’t think they pull the trigger.
Yahoo! Sports’ Marc Spears refers to Embiid as a “franchise superstar.” Vegas has the Embiid as the odds-on favorite (slightly over Wiggins). DraftExpress, the ever-excellent resource for all things June 26, is also on board.
It’s a bit scary that the lone roadblock could be in the form of the team’s owner, but it appears that the lack of consensus that plagued this draft as little as a week ago is starting to move toward the 7-foot-tall 20-year-old from Yaounde, Cameroon.