Updates from Thursday, June 26
Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowksi reports likely destinations for Joel Embiid tonight:
Joel Embiid's seriously in play for three spots in top part of lottery: 76ers (3), Celtics (6), Lakers (7), league sources tell Yahoo.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) June 26, 2014
Wojnarowski also talked about the Sixers' level of interest in the Kansas product:
Philadelphia is still working on a final decision at No. 3, but Joel Embiid has a tremendous chance to be selected there,— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) June 26, 2014
Bill Simmons passed along information on how the Celtics view Embiid:
Celts not nearly as sold on Embiid as people think. The medicals worry them. Could still take him, more likely they trade down. (PS-Go USA!)— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) June 26, 2014
Updates from Wednesday, June 25
Ken Berger of CBS Sports has the latest details on where Joel Embiid will land just 24 hours before the draft:
How far will Joel Embiid fall?
Widely expected to be the No. 1 overall pick by Cleveland until a fracture was discovered in the Kansas center's foot last week, Embiid now is viewed in front-office circles as going somewhere between the third and seventh picks. Several teams, including the Sacramento Kings at No. 8, have called teams ahead of them in the lottery to propose potential trades to move up and select Embiid, a league source with knowledge of the conversations told CBSSports.com.
Updates from Tuesday, June 24
It's unclear what teams have received Joel Embiid medical information, but Dei Lynam of CSN Philly reports on a few teams who have been given the papers:
According to ESPN.com's Chad Ford in a podcast with Bill Simmons posted Tuesday afternoon, only Cleveland and Milwaukee had been given Embiid's medical information.
The Sixers are reportedly interested in taking Embiid with the No. 3 pick despite his injury problems.
Updates from Saturday, June 21
Chris Forsberg of ESPN has the latest on Embiid's potential draft stock:
I think we all want to know exactly what [the injury prognosis] is," Celtics director of player personnel Austin Ainge said after the team hosted another pre-draft workout on Saturday. "But even when you have a lot of information, sometimes it’s still just a best guess. I’m not sure what the conclusions will be by the doctors and I’m sure, as with Avery Bradley and Jared Sullinger when we drafted them, the medical staff all had different opinions for every team. So it’s hard to predict."
Pressed on how hard the decision might be if Embiid was available with the Celtics on the clock, Ainge smiled and offered, "Quite a gamble. I don’t know. We’ll see."
Ainge admitted that "Foot and back -- those are not good body parts to injure," but said the Celtics often weig the long-term effects of the injury rather than the amount of time the player will miss initially.
"We try to focus on the long-term health, rather than that short term when you’re dealing with draft picks," said Ainge. "Free agency, it might be a little different. But when you’re drafting kids that are [age] 19, 20, 21, it’s usually best to think, 'Two years or five years down the road, will it be a concern?' Those are the ones that we usually try to avoid.'
Updates from Thursday, June 19
On Thursday news came out that Joel Embiid has a stress fracture in his foot. This will likely hurt his draft stock and frighten some teams away. Not the Boston Celtics according to A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com:
The stress fracture in Joel Embiid's right foot will certainly scare some teams away from selecting him near the top of the draft.
But the Boston Celtics aren't one of them.
In fact, a source tells CSNNE.com that the Celtics will give some serious thought to potentially moving up in the draft to select him.
Boston has kept "all options" open leading up to the draft, including the possibility of moving up from their current No. 6 spot.
FOX Sports Live has more on Embiid's current draft stock:
"Cleveland is not going to consider Embiid at No. 1, league sources tell me." -@WojYahooNBA— FOX Sports Live (@FOXSportsLive) June 20, 2014
Updates from Tuesday, June 17
ESPN's Chad Ford provides an update on how Joel Embiid performed in his workout and interview with the Cleveland Cavaliers:
Embiid's workout and interview in Cleveland last week were major successes, according to sources close to the Cavs. Embiid did a full workout there in front of the Cavs' front office and owner Dan Gilbert. Multiple sources said that the team was blown away with the workout. Embiid even ended one session by launching and nailing a series of 3s. Directly after the workout, two different sources told me that Embiid was the strong favorite to be drafted by the Cavs. Even Gilbert was on board.
Updates from Friday, June 13
FOX Sports' Sam Amico and ESPN Cleveland present conflicting reports on Embiid's physical with the Cavaliers:
Cavs put Joel Embiid through rigorous workout. His physical checked out fine, source says.— Sam Amico (@SamAmicoFSO) June 13, 2014
Amico provides more details:
Former Kansas center Joel Embiid was put through a rigorous individual workout during his visit earlier this week. Word is Embiid looked every bit as talented as expected and his physical checked out just fine. That means there were no major "red flags" about his troublesome back.
Updates from Thursday, June 12
Gery Woelfel of the Racine Journal Times sheds light on how the Cavaliers plan to use the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft:
Several NBA officials told me the Cavs have no desire to unload the top pick and have honed in on Joel Embiid.— Gery Woelfel (@GeryWoelfel) June 11, 2014
The Cleveland Cavaliers' incredible luck continued when they drew the No. 1 overall pick for the third time in four years in the NBA draft lottery.
With several elite prospects to choose from, it seems new general manager David Griffin and the front office are wary of selecting Kansas center Joel Embiid.
According to FoxSportsOhio.com's Sam Amico, sources with knowledge of Cleveland's current thinking suggest the back injury that kept Embiid out of the NCAA tournament is a big red flag:
Sounding as if Joel Embiid basically out of running for No. 1 pick. Sources say #Cavs' extremely leery of potential for longterm back issues— Sam Amico (@SamAmicoFSO) May 23, 2014
Embiid will have to undergo extensive evaluation by #Cavs, sources say. Team will not rely on independent evaluation.— Sam Amico (@SamAmicoFSO) May 23, 2014
This comes on the heels of a report on Wednesday by ESPN.com's Jeff Goodman, whose sources told him that the Cavs had Embiid at the top of their draft board. However, Goodman did note that Cleveland hasn't ruled out Embiid's teammate from this past season in Andrew Wiggins or Duke star Jabari Parker.
Embiid's draft workout can be seen below:
BasketballInsiders.com's Steve Kyler thinks that Embiid is well deserving of the top choice as long as his health checks out:
If Joel Embiid is completely healthy, almost no chance he does not go #1 overall...— Steve Kyler (@stevekylerNBA) May 23, 2014
Jayhawks coach Bill Self praised Embiid for his accelerated progress that led to declaring for the draft after his freshman season.
"His ceiling is ridiculously high," Self told The Kansas City Star's Blair Kerkhoff. "We knew he’d be really, really good [...] But we didn’t know how long it would take. He kind of exceeded our expectations."
Who should the Cavs choose No. 1 overall in the 2014 NBA draft?
The Cavs have already invested a recent first-round pick in Tyler Zeller, along with power forward Tristan Thompson. Neither has been spectacular, but Cleveland also has Anderson Varejao up front, limiting the need for another player in that part of the rotation.
This is a monumental decision for Cleveland, especially in a state that saw a No. 1 overall pick in former Ohio State center Greg Oden suffer through injuries and bust.
There is also justification to choose either Wiggins or Parker. Both would likely man the small forward position, which has been a glaring weakness for the Cavs since LeBron James' departure.
Embiid could be a franchise-changing force thanks to his proficient, versatile offensive game, exceptional rebounding and defense that saw him average 11.2 points, 8.1 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per contest in 2013-14.
However, the medical questions make him a precarious commodity.
Therefore, it makes sense that the Cavs are a bit apprehensive, since they haven't managed to translate their high draft statuses in recent years to playoff appearances.