Now that former Kansas Jayhawks’ center Joel Embiid has had surgery to repair a stress fracture in his right foot, the Cleveland Cavaliers have a big decision to make. They will likely take either former Duke Blue Devils’ forward Jabari Parker or Emiid’s Jayhawks’ teammate, forward Andrew Wiggins (with Australian point guard Dante Exum being the dark horse).
Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com believes that Parker will be the number one pick.
Parker is the most NBA-ready top prospect, without the same high ceiling as the others but also without the same risk, and now certainly without the risk of Embiid. That could become the deciding factor for a general manager who likes job security. Plus, some teams see Parker as a power forward, an appealing versatility that gives the Cavs more options.
He then has Wiggins going number two-overall to the Milwaukee Bucks before projecting the Philadelphia 76ers to make a rather surprising selection – former Kentucky Wildcats’ power forward Julius Randle.
Dante Exum would be a double-risk for a team that already has a point guard, knowing doubts exist in many front offices about whether Exum can be a distributor and that he doesn’t have enough of a shot to play him with Michael Carter-Williams. Randle, with a physical presence and a nonstop motor, has a chance to be special. He is beating back the report that he will need foot surgery and miss summer league.
That leaves the Orlando Magic to select Exum with the fourth-overall pick and the Utah Jazz to take former Indiana Hoosiers’ big man Noah Vonleh with the fifth-overall pick.