Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid Will Be Top Two Selections of 2014 NBA Draft

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Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid Will Be Top Two Selections of 2014 NBA Draft
USA TODAY Sports

When the Cleveland Cavaliers defied the odds and won the top-overall selection of the 2014 NBA draft during Tuesday's lottery, things were shaken up in a big way.

Top prospects like Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid had inklings of where they would wind up in the NBA.

Or so they thought.

With the revamped draft order, two things have happened: Their NBA destinations have changed, and their status has been nearly solidified as the draft's first-and second-overall selections.

Let's break down the reasons why.

 

Joel Embiid

Pick: No. 1 to Cleveland Cavaliers

Surprised?

Yes, it's actually Embiid who will go No. 1 overall in this year's draft.

The 7'0" Embiid is an absolutely gifted athlete. He has fantastic length and fluidity, allowing him to flourish in the post on the offensive end of the court. That same length makes Embiid a force on the defensive end as well, where he averaged 8.1 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game last season with Kansas.

What makes him even scarier is that his offensive skill set continues to improve.

We already know he can score in the paint virtually at will. Over the past season, Embiid's range continued to grow and, with it, his versatility. He can score in a variety of ways which makes him a well-rounded player despite his lack of experience.

But then there's the injury question, as NBA.com's Alex Kennedy tweets:

That's one thing potentially holding Embiid back from the No. 1 overall selection. Yes, the Cavaliers will do their due diligence and obtain his medical records; however, Grantland's Bill Simmons put it best:

Joel Embiid is going to be the first pick of the 2014 draft. Don't let anyone tell you differently. These teams are full of it. We're worried about his back, we're hearing it's bad...It’s Smokescreen Central right now...NOBODY is passing on a franchise center who could easily be described as "The 7-Foot Serge Ibaka." Stop it. He’s going first. 

That could very well be the case. After all, Cleveland knows Tyler Zeller isn't the answer, Spencer Hawes is headed to free agency, and Anderson Varejao is aging.

It's time for a change.

Interestingly enough, a report linking Embiid to Cleveland surfaced via ESPN's Jeff Goodman on Wednesday.

Writes Goodman, "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 ESPN.com on Wednesday."

Sure, it could be a smoke screen, but it could also signal a changing of the guard in Cleveland's frontcourt.

 

Andrew Wiggins

Pick: No. 2 to Milwaukee Bucks

First and foremost, Wiggins may have the most athleticism and highest ceiling of any prospect in this year's draft. That alone is reason enough to consider him for one of the top-overall selections.

Wiggins has extraordinary leaping ability—which we already knew, but was reaffirmed when an image of his vertical went viral. Here's a look at the aforementioned leap, courtesy of a tweet from theScore:

Aside from his leaping ability, Wiggins is extremely long, and his athleticism should allow him to play the 2, 3 or 4 in the NBA. He's extremely quick in transition and has the shooting ability to score from anywhere on the floor.

Sure, he does need to polish certain things up—he's not a great passer or ball-handler, for instance—but his upside is tremendous if he can improve in those areas.

The Bucks have a bevy of young players who are still in the process of developing.

Larry Sanders, John Henson and Giannis Antetokounmpo are all three former first-round selection who figure to be heavy factors for this team going forward. Adding Wiggins would give this team a dynamic group of developing young players.

Milwaukee isn't in win-now mode. This is a team attempting to get back into the mix by accumulating bright college stars.

Wiggins absolutely fits the mold.

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