Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
It's not that he has the potential to be a bust—but he does in terms of meeting the value that comes with being a top-three pick.
And that's what it may to take to secure Joel Embiid, which means passing on some sure-thing NBA locks.
His upside is through the roof—arguably the highest of anyone in the class. Embiid has the potential to emerge as one of the NBA's top two-way centers.
But if Embiid is ultimately unable to reach his ceiling, he's going to be the guy who teams passed on for prospects like Kentucky's Julius Randle, Oklahoma's Marcus Smart or Australia's Dante Exum—players who are dominating right now instead of ones projected to dominate five years from now.
Embiid is playing only around 20 minutes a night for Kansas, averaging 10.5 points and 6.7 boards. A big man like Randle is putting up 18 and 11, double-doubling on an every-game basis.
Embiid is a raw 7-footer who just started playing ball at 16 years of age. He's not NBA-ready, and drafting him will require a franchise's patience as the big man develops. The glass-half-empty guys think Haseem Thabeet.
But if Embiid continues to improve and meet his projected ceiling, we could be talking about the top player to emerge from this draft class.