A lot of teams would love to be in the Cleveland Cavaliers’ shoes right now.
They have a superstar point guard running the show in Kyrie Irving, a pretty strong supporting cast with the likes of Dion Waiters and Jarrett Jack, and they have the number one pick in this year’s Draft.
Right now, let’s focus on the latter.
The 2014 Draft is loaded with plenty of potentially franchise altering players such as Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker. Although, looking at the pieces Cleveland already have and the players available in the market, the pick that makes the most sense would be center Joel Embiid.
The Cavs need a bigman in the middle to protect the paint and do some damage inside after the Andrew Bynum disaster last year. Anderson Varejao is injury prone and it’s still up in the air whether his non-guaranteed $9million contract option for next year will be picked up. Spencer Hawes will be an unrestricted free-agent this summer and Tyler Zeller wasn’t able to build on a solid rookie season due to a lack of playing time.
The awful 3.7 blocks per game further adds to the point and the best option to fix those problems is the former Kansas Jayhawks star - His 2.6 blocks per game in just 23 minutes of action is testament to that.
He has already drawn comparisons to Oklahoma City Thunder’s Serge Ibaka, but if he can put it all together, he could be as great as Hall-of-Famer, Hakeem Olajuwon. Yet, the Cavaliers remain unconvinced.
According to Fox Sports Ohio’s Sam Samico" “Joel Embiid is basically out of running for the number one pick. Sources say Cleveland is extremely leery of the potential for longterm back issues.”
The concern with his health stems from the fact that Embiid played in just 28 games during his lone year in the college no thanks to a stress fracture in his lower back. It resulted in him missing the Big 12 and NCAA Tournament, from which Kansas were bounced out of in just the second.
However, looking at his draft workout video above, it doesn’t seem like it’s much of a problem. The big fella is back to his nimble self as he was moving freely and pulling out some monster jams.
What was most impressive though, was how nimble he was. Players his size aren’t supposed to be able to so nimble in their movements like he was when taking step back jumpers, especially if he having back problems. But there he was gracefully swanning around the court.
His performance had experts ready to lock in the pick as ESPN’s Insider Chad Ford tweeted: “Embiid is quickly re-asserting claim to the No. 1 pick here. He’s added muscle, still has quick feet and a beautiful jumper. No evidence of back issues.”
Yahoo! Sports Adrian Wojnarowski echoed his message by saying: “Watching Joel Embiid in workout for league executives in Santa Monica. It is impossible to imagine passing on him at No. 1.”
Perhaps Bill Simons was right when he said: “Embiid is going first. None of these teams are passing on him. Repeat: none of them. The amount of smokescreening going on in April and May is high comedy.”
After all, it’s not the first time Cleveland have been worried about a player’s health prior to the Draft. Irving played just 11 games during his lone year at Duke but he went first overall and the Cavaliers are reaping the rewards.
Nonetheless, as things stand, the front office is leaning towards the “safer picks.”
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