3 Draft Prospects Guaranteed to Interest the Cleveland Cavaliers

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistMay 21, 2014

Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid are sure to pique the Cavaliers' interest in the draft.
Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid are sure to pique the Cavaliers' interest in the draft.Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Well, this was rather unexpected.

Much to the surprise of viewers, the NBA draft lottery fell the Cleveland Cavaliers' way for the third time in four seasons, and with the help of Nick Gilbert's lucky bow tie, the Cavs received the first overall pick.

Conspiracy theorists screamed foul play, and the soon-to-be-unbearable LeBron James-to-Cleveland voices emerged from the shadows with a renewed energy.

Regardless, one of three elite prospects—each of whom was a "one-and-done" in college—is expected to don the Wine and Gold.

The Cavs are virtually assured of not making an Anthony Bennett-sized mistake in June's NBA draft, and the top player will join Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters on a potentially special young roster.


3. Jabari Parker, Small Forward, Duke

2013-14 Per-Game Stats: 19.1 points, 8.7 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 1.1 steals, 1.2 blocks

You want offense? Jabari Parker will give you offense. But how much more offense Cleveland needs in its starting lineup is the multimillion-dollar question the front office must answer.

Given his versatility shooting the ball, Parker has been touted as the safest option in the draft. Whether he drives the lane, plays with his back to the basket or unleashes a variety of jumpers, the 6'8" small forward excels on that side of the floor.

Parker's offense certainly translates to the NBA, but so does his defenseor lack thereof. Down the stretch, legendary Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski used an offense-defense substitution method with his star.

Yikes. Do the Cavs really want a defensively inept starting trio in the backcourt? Parker would be better suited on a team such as the Philadelphia 76ers that has Michael Carter-Williams and Thaddeus Young roaming the court.

Cleveland must also consider if the supposed rift between Irving and Waiters demands a roster shake-up, though it seems unlikely right now. Parker's offensive skills are undeniable, and his level of talent is not available every season, so he won't be easy to spurn.


2. Andrew Wiggins, Small Forward, Kansas

2013-14 Per-Game Stats: 17.1 points, 5.9 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.2 steals, 1.0 blocks

Luol Deng exploring other suitors in free agency and the Cavaliers not picking up Alonzo Gee's team option leaves a noticeable void at small forward. Bennett, of course, does not represent an immediate answer, nor does Sergey Karasev.

Enter Andrew Wiggins.

Wiggins is capable of contributing an offensive spark, evidenced by his 41-point outburst in a late-season win over West Virginia. However, he is not necessarily reliable on that end, evidenced by his four-point stinker against Stanford during the NCAA tournament.

Jesse Newell of The Topeka Capital-Journal believes the 6'8" swingman's weakness is easily correctable.

Where Jabari Parker is a more reliable scorer, Wiggins' bad offensive days are often overshadowed by stout defense. But if Parker isn't finding the bottom of the net, his defensive abilities do not counteract the lack of points.

On the other hand, Wiggins offers an athletic wing capable of frustrating a variety of players, and he would bolster a unit that was eighth-worst in the NBA defending the three-point shot. Ultimately, Wiggins provides balance to Cleveland's offense-heavy roster and should be preferred over Parker.


1. Joel Embiid, Center, Kansas


2013-14 Per-Game Stats: 11.2 points, 8.1 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 0.9 steals, 2.6 blocks

With Kentucky forward Julius Randle, the Cavaliers would have an opportunity to replace Spencer Hawes' average scoring—granted, not his shooting range. However, the Randle-Tristan Thompson combination would likely be a defensive disaster.

Conversely, Kansas center Joel Embiid is the perfect successor to an aging Anderson Varejao while presenting an elite shot-blocking presence. The Brazilian vet had his most effective year since the 2009-10 season, but Varejao will be 32 years old at the start of the 2014-15 campaign.

Given Cleveland has the top pick, the front office could decline Varejao's impending team option that HoopsHype lists for the center. Regardless, Embiid is a high-ceiling option, and Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman believes the Cavs will take him with the No. 1 selection.

"We're not just talking about a raw 7-footer—Embiid is crazy skilled with post moves for days, from jump hooks and dream shakes to up-and-unders and spin moves," Wasserman said. "Defensively, he has the ability to change a game by shrinking the rim he's defending."

As Wasserman said, Embiid finds ways to attack the rim, which is why he shot 62.6 percent from the field last year. Had that mark qualified, it would have been the fourth-best percentage in the entire country.

Practically any player could fit with a backcourt containing Irving and Waiters, but Embiid is more than that—he actually complements them. And that's the type of player Cleveland needs.


Note: Unless otherwise noted, all stats taken from Sports-Reference.com.

Follow Bleacher Report NBA writer David Kenyon on Twitter @Kenyon19_BR.