When it comes to the 2014 NBA Draft a lot of the buzz has been about former Kansas Jayhawks center Joel Embiid. On many NBA experts draft boards he is almost the consensus number one pick in the draft. With recent reports surfacing that the Cavaliers will select Embiid if he proves he is healthy to play right away per the New York Daily News.
If he is not selected number one it is likely because the Cavaliers are not sure about Embiid’s stress fracture in his back. Alexander Vaccaro, a spine specialist and vice chairman of orthopedics at Rothman Institute states that:
“It can really prevent people from competing on a professional level in competitive sports. If the back does hurt and becomes symptomatic, it’s often difficult to make better, and the pain tends to recur.Simply put, Vaccaro believes his career will go one of two ways:
“He’s going to get better and this is not going to be a problem,” Vaccaro said. “Or it can be a recurring problem with him, because he could exacerbate the stress fracture. You cool it down. You cool it down. He feels better and goes back. Only he is going to define his natural history.”
Honestly, everyone knows from an overall standpoint, big men who are rated as high as Embiid usually don’t work out as much as we expect it to. There are so many cases where big men didn’t pan out or live up to their expectations, so why should we think Embiid is any different?
Well, in case you haven’t seen his recent dunk video check this out!
Does it look like his back is causing him any problems? Not really, but there is some noticeable stiffness in his step but that could also be because he doesn’t want to do too much just for a quick video. As for the top three selections for the 2014 NBA Draft: Cleveland Cavaliers, Milwaukee Bucks, and Philadelphia Sixers; passing on this athletic big man would be a huge mistake. Regardless of the back issues scouts believe that he may have, he is still a top three prospect. If the top two picks are indeed Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker, then he needs to be number three.
Embiid averaged 11.2 points, 8.1 rebounds, 2.6 blocks and 1.4 assists per game last season for the Jayhawks, which isn’t going to knock you out of your seat stats, but he has an all-around game which is rare for a center. The Cavaliers could absolutely use him with an aging Anderson Varejao as their current center and no other big man worth mentioning. The thought of the Milwaukee Bucks having a frontcourt consisting Joel Embiid, Larry Sanders, and Ersan Ilyasova is already capable of competing in a weak Eastern Conference, not even including O.J. Mayo and Brandon Knight in the backcourt.
The Sixers on the other hand, really don’t necessarily need Embiid. If Embiid falls to Philly at No. 3, then he just may drop a few more picks. The Sixers need more scoring for the reigning Rookie of The Year Michael Carter-Williams to pass to. They basically have to hope for either Milwaukee or Cleveland to select Embiid, otherwise they could potentially look to trade the pick.
With that said, there is no way Embiid falls out of the top three — after the top ten prospects in the draft there is a significant drop off in talent. Quite honestly, it is even possible to say he shouldn’t fall further than the top-2. In this day and age, as a franchise you simply can’t pass on a big man who has almost three-point range on his jump shot, dominant on the defensive end, rebounds the ball consistently, and will block shots. He will end up being a great player and it would be a travesty if he gets passed up on because of a report saying his back issues could harm him in the future.