The Cleveland Cavaliers had reportedly decided on selecting former Kansas Jayhawks’ center Joel Embiid with the number one overall pick, but after he had surgery to repair a stress fracture in his right foot, it looks likes the Cavaliers will be choosing between Embiid’s Jayhawks teammate, swingman Andrew Wiggins, or former Duke Blue Devils’ forward Jabari Parker.
According to Chad Ford and Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com, the Cavaliers are leaning towards selecting Parker.
For the past few days, the Cavaliers, according to sources, have been leaning toward selecting Parker. The 6-8 forward averaged 19.1 points and 8.7 rebounds as a freshman at Duke last season. He would address some of Cleveland’s most pressing needs: shooting, basketball smarts and toughness. If the Cavs lose Luol Deng to free agency as widely expected, they will need help at small forward.
Furthermore, owner Dan Gilbert has given a mandate to ownership to turn this roster into a playoff squad this season. Parker is, by virtually all accounts, the most NBA-ready prospect in the draft.
However, Parker’s workout on Friday in Cleveland was a disappointment, according to multiple sources. Parker weighed in at 254 pounds with 11 percent body fat, more than 10 pounds above his playing weight at Duke. Sources say the workout was so bad that he appeared disinterested at times. One source even went as far as to say that Parker appeared to be “tanking” the workout.
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 had 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).