Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker have been penciled in as the top two picks in the 2014 NBA Draft basically since both were seniors in high school.
However, as the two stars’ freshmen seasons developed, it was Wiggins teammate Joel Embiid who caught the attention of most scouts. The 7′ foot tall, 250-pound center is oozing with potential and has only been playing organized basketball for a few years.
A stress fracture in his back prior to the NCAA tournament derailed a lot of his draft hype. Since it is an injury Embiid also had in high school, teams are worried that it may be recurring. Needless to say there will be plenty of risk involved for whichever team drafts the center. Injury or not, Mark Heisler reports that Embiid still sits atop a lot of GM’s draft boards heading into tonight’s draft lottery.
If there’s no consensus No. 1 pick in the press, one super prospect emerged in the minds of the NBA people I talked to. That was Embiid, the 7-0, 250-pound (as listed by Kansas) freshman who started around No. 5 on sheer size and raw potential and realized enough of it to to rocket to No. 1 in mid-season when a GM told me, “His ceiling is Hakeem Olajuwon. His basement is Serge Ibaka.”
Very high praise for a still raw prospect. But at the end of the day, most NBA GM’s prefer size and potential over known commodities. Don’t be surprised to see Embiid go at the top of the NBA Draft next month.