It looked like the Cleveland Cavaliers were closing in on former Kansas Jayhawks’ center Joel Embiid with the number one overall pick in next week’s NBA Draft
Now that Embiid had had surgery to repair a stress fracture in his right foot, he almost certainly won’t be a top pick. That leaves the Cavaliers to decide between Embiid’s college teammate, forward Andrew Wiggins, former Duke Blue Devils’ forward Jabari Parker and possibly Australian point guard Dante Exum.
Mark Heisler of Forbes believes Parker is now the likely choice.
Joel Embiid, the Kansas seven-footer who might have changed the equation enough to interest James in returning to Cleveland, has suffered a stress fracture in his foot. Coming within months of the stress fracture in Embiid’s back–even if doctors had cleared him for that one–the already leery Cavaliers will switch off him for their No. 1 pick.
Cleveland, which was already open to trading the pick if it could land a big-timer like Minnesota’s Kevin Love, will surely pursue that. If not, Duke’s NBA-ready Jabari Parker would be the likely choice over Kansas’ further-away Andrew Wiggins.
Parker went for 19.1 points, 8.7 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 1.2 blocks and 1.1 steals per game while shooting 47.3% from the field, 35.8% from beyond the arc and 74.8% from the free throw line last season. The last time Parker was officially measured, he came in at 6’8.5 and 240 lbs. with a wingspan of 6’11.5 at the Kevin Durant Camp in 2013. Jonathan Givony of Draft Express ranks Parker as the third-best prospect (behind Wiggins and Embiid, but with the recent news on Embiid, Parker is probably first or second on nearly every draft board).