Report: Cleveland Cavs Have Joel Embiid No. 1 on 2014 NBA Draft Board

Adam FromalNational NBA Featured ColumnistMay 21, 2014

Kansas center Joel Embiid during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Baylor in Lawrence, Kan., Monday, Jan. 20, 2014. Kansas defeated Baylor 78-68. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
Orlin Wagner/Associated Press

The Cleveland Cavaliers have plenty of options now that they've defied the odds to land their third No. 1 pick in the last four years. 

As Mitch Lawrence wrote for the New York Daily News, "Gilbert, the Cavs' owner, has been nothing but lucky since seeing LeBron James leave to go to the Miami Heat in 2010."

Well, nothing but lucky until the actual seasons start. But that could change this year now that a potentially transcendent star could be joining the Cavaliers. 

Even if the beleaguered franchise doesn't manage to swing a deal for Kevin Love or another star player, there's still an elite trio of prospects atop most draft boards, just ripe for the picking. Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker and Joel Embiid are in a class of their own, even in a stacked draft class, but the order in which they sit on top varies from board to board. 

The Cavaliers, though, already have a No. 1 option. 

"The Cleveland Cavaliers have 7-footer Joel Embiid at the top of their draft board, but it's still early in the process and the team needs to obtain medical information on the Cameroon native's back injury, sources told on Wednesday," reported's Jeff Goodman

Well, that makes things simpler. 

For now. 

There's plenty of time left before June 26, and so much could change. And that's assuming this isn't just a premature smokescreen intended to prevent teams from doing their due diligence while researching Embiid's back. 

Between now and the actual 2014 NBA draft, the Cavaliers could make plenty of changes. Even if the Kansas big man's back is completely healthy and poses absolutely no long-term concerns, there's still a good chance Cleveland could decide small forward is a more pressing need. 

So far, it seems as though Embiid's back is healthy, though. That corroborates nicely with Goodman's report, as the Cavs wouldn't even think about selecting the former Jayhawk over either his teammate or Parker if he didn't have a clean bill of health. 

According to Embiid himself on Sirius XM Radio, as relayed by A. Sherrod Blakely of, he's at "100 percent; no pain, nothing. I been working out, just to get back in the shape." 

But again, even health doesn't guarantee No. 1 status for the big man. 

"Sources also told that while Embiid is first on the organization's wish list," Goodman explains, "That doesn't mean that Cavs general manager David Griffin—who had the interim tag lifted earlier this month—isn't also considering Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker with the first pick."

While there's some clarity here, given that the team's No. 1 player (for now) has been revealed, that clarity will eventually turn into a murky haze of confusion at least once more before Adam Silver takes the podium in late June. 

But for now, let's bask in the glory of actually knowing what's going on.