NBA teams consider Kansas 7-footer Joel Embiid the best player in the 2014 NBA Draft by a wide margin, ESPN’s Bill Simmons reports.
Andrew Wiggins, Embiid’s teammate at Kansas, has long been the consensus No. 1 player in the draft.
But Simmons says Embiid, a 20-year-old from Cameroon who has only been playing basketball for a few years, is a rare prospect that all 30 NBA teams would take No. 1.
“News flash: As I said on TV before the lottery, Embiid was always going first. None of these teams was passing on him. Repeat: none of them,” Simmons wrote in his column.
He says he saw Embiid workout in Santa Monica and was blown away. He calls him a “7-foot Serge Ibaka:”
“Here’s what I can tell you: He moves around as effortlessly as a 7-foot Serge Ibaka; he’s such an athletic freak that he’s one of those “still going up as he’s finishing the dunk” guys; his freakish wingspan might make Jay Bilas pass out; he has been playing basketball for only four years (which seems impossible); he gave up a world-class volleyball career; he has 3-point range; he can shoot jump-hooks with both hands already; he couldn’t have seemed more coachable/agreeable/likable; he’s a hard worker with a goofy sense of humour; his voice is just a touch Mutombo-y (deep with a heavy African accent); and his friends call him ‘Jo-Jo.’ And again — his back seemed totally fine.”
Embiid missed the NCAA Tournament with a back injury. He didn’t go to the NBA Combine for the same reason.
Simmons says the back is fine, though, and all the talk about Embiid slipping in the draft is purely a “smokescreen.”
The Cleveland Cavaliers, who’ve botched some picks in recent years, have the No. 1 pick.
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