The Cleveland Cavaliers hold the number one overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft.
The Cavaliers reportedly liked former Duke Blue Devils’ forward Jabari Parker throughout the process and are high on former Kansas Jayhawks’ center Joel Embiid. According to Chad Ford of ESPN.com, the Cavaliers could wind up compromising on Embiid’s Jayhawks teammate, forward Andrew Wiggins.
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 they 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, and who can play (especially defensively) impactful minutes right out of the gate.
That said, if Embiid is cleared by the Cavs’ doctors, and if GM David Griffin can persuade 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, California, 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 of LaMarcus Aldrdige in return, I don’t think they pull the trigger.
Wiggins averaged 17.1 points, 5.9 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.0 blocks per game for the Jayhawks last season while shooting 44.8% from the field, 34.1% from beyond the arc and 77.5% from the free throw line. Wiggins is ranked as the top prospect in the draft by Jonathan Givony of Draft Express and is projected to go number one overall.