The 2014 NBA draft has been completely shaken up with the recent news surrounding Kansas center Joel Embiid, and there are now plenty of new rumors surrounding the draft's top prospects.
According to Jeff Goodman from ESPN.com, Embiid has a fractured foot, and his agent Arn Tellem released the following statement:
Joel Embiid suffered a stress fracture to the navicular bone in his right foot. He is scheduled to have surgery tomorrow. Joel will be unable to participate in any additional workouts, and will not attend the draft in New York. We will have no further comment until after the surgery.
With the news of his injury, it's now unlikely that the Cleveland Cavaliers select him with the No. 1 overall pick, completely changing the landscape of the first few picks. Below are a few of the most recent rumors in the wake of the injury, along with analysis of what they could mean for the respective players.
Joel Embiid Expected to Miss 4-6 Months
With the news surrounding Embiid's foot injury, his draft stock has taken a hit, but the recent rumors regarding how much time he'll likely miss aren't making things any better.
Adrian Wojnarowski from Yahoo Sports is reporting that Embiid had to have two screws inserted into his right foot and that the 7'0'' center is reportedly expected to miss four to six months while he recovers from the injury.
Embiid exploded onto the scene during his one season at Kansas, averaging 11.2 points, 8.1 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game while shooting an impressive 62.6 percent from the field. Despite only playing basketball for a few years, Embiid's athleticism and length have helped him thrive down low, and with more time in the NBA, many have high expectations for him as a potential All-Star.
However, the problem with Embiid appears to be staying healthy. A back injury forced him to miss the end of the season, including the NCAA tournament. As Alex Kennedy from Basketball Insiders points out, having three injuries over the past four years will scare a lot of teams:
After many expected the Cavaliers to take Embiid with the No. 1 overall pick, it's now unclear just how far he could slide. Adam Zagoria from SNY.tv points out that Embiid could fall out of the top five:
The injury obviously impacts where Embiid will go, but it's also going to impact where other prospects go, especially early.
Cavaliers More Impressed With Andrew Wiggins Than Jabari Parker
Now that Embiid is out of the race for the No. 1 overall pick, the Cleveland Cavaliers have to decided between Andrew Wiggins or Jabari Parker. Both have proved to be top-tier prospects at small forward and are expected to become future All-Stars, but the Cavaliers are reportedly more interested in Wiggins.
According to Sam Amico from Fox Sports, the Cavaliers liked Wiggins' individual workout more than Parker's, saying:
From the sounds of things, Jabari Parker did himself no favors during his workout with the Cavs on Friday. The forward from Duke wasn't bad, he just didn't look as good as Andrew Wiggins, sources said.
One source said Wiggins' individual workout was "easily" better -- that Wiggins shot better, moved better and handled the ball better than he ever did at Kansas. A week ago, Parker seemed to have the edge when it came to Cavs and their No. 1 overall pick. Now, it's as big of a mystery as ever.
Both players have made very strong cases for the top pick. Wiggins is a freak athlete that is likely going to keep getting better as he develops his jumper, but Parker appears to be the more pro-ready scorer, as he's able to consistently make shots from almost anywhere on the floor.
Wiggins might have the higher ceiling, however, given his tremendous athleticism. Evan Daniels from Scout.com believes that Wiggins is now the clear choice for the No. 1 pick after Embiid's injury:
It will be interesting to see what the Cavaliers do with the No. 1 pick, as they'll be trying to avoid another disappointment after taking Anthony Bennett No. 1 overall last year. If they can get it right this year, however, the franchise could be moving back in the right direction.
Dante Exum Now A Potential Top-Three Pick
Before the injury to Embiid, Dante Exum essentially looked like a lock to go to the Orlando Magic with the No. 4 overall pick. However, it now looks like that the talented guard coming out of Australia could be one of the first three players taken.
ESPN's Chad Ford reported on Monday that Exum had a strong workout with the Philadelphia 76ers and that it's unlikely the team will pass on him if he's there with the No. 3 pick:
As an international prospect, most fans haven't gotten a good look at Exum. However, he looks the part of an NBA guard. He has great size at 6'6'' and is a terrific athlete. He has the tools to both find his own shot and find open teammates for easy looks. He has the skills to play either point guard or shooting guard, but it's likely he'll run the point wherever he goes.
Along with the athleticism and size, Chad Ford also points out that teams fell in love with Exum claiming he might be the most intelligent player in the entire draft class:
Exum has been spending much more time training and preparing for the NBA draft than playing in actual games lately, and he claims that his game has changed quite a bit.
Exum told Gary Washburn from The Boston Globe:
My game has changed a whole lot since those clips. I am a get-to-the-rim-type of player and I guess that’s what puts me in a good position to be a point guard and that kind of vocal leader. I have that voice to say to [teammates] what needs to be done. I am the voice on the court for the coach.
It will be very tempting for either the Milwaukee Bucks or Sixers to take Exum. He doesn't have the best three-point shot, but the rest of his game is already so promising that it's hard to see him not succeeding in the Association.
Overall, there's a ton to like about Exum, and at this point, no one should be shocked if he's one of the first three players drafted on Thursday.
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