A week ago, it looked like the top three picks in the draft were set and all three teams, the Cleveland Cavaliers, Milwaukee Bucks, and Philadelphia 76ers would be able to draft exactly whom they wanted.
But then Joel Embiid of Kansas suffered a stress fracture in his foot and now all three teams may have to settle for somebody that was not at the top of their wish list.
The top three picks were not an absolute lock. But before Embiid’s injury, many experts felt the Cavs would draft Embiid and the Bucks would take Jabari Parker from Duke (and nearby Chicago). That would have left Andrew Wiggins from Kansas available for the 76ers who reportedly were willing to trade up to the top spot to ensure they could get him.
But Embiid’s injury changes everything. Here is how those picks may play out now.
1. Cleveland Cavaliers — SF Jabari Parker, Duke
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo.com the Cavs will not draft Embiid now that he is injured and may not play this season.
That leaves Parker or Wiggins with Parker considered the safer choice. But according to Chad Ford of ESPN.com, a source told him that Parker “tanked” his workout with the Cavs and that he prefers to play for Milwaukee. One source with the Cavs said “it was clear we weren’t his first option.”
This could be good news for the Bucks. But according to Ford, there are still some in the Cavs front office who prefer Parker who is more “NBA-ready,” and “fits a more immediate need.”
2. Milwaukee Bucks — SG Andrew Wiggins, Kansas
The consensus appears to be that the Bucks want Parker and Parker wants the Bucks. But now it looks like they will have to go to their back-up plan.
According to C.F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Bucks want somebody that can help now and will not take Embiid.
That leaves Wiggins or trading down and licking their wounds.
3. Philadelphia 76ers
Before the Embiid injury, the 76ers were “trying to do whatever they can to draft [Wiggins],” according to Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
According to Bob Cooney of the Philadelphia Daily News, the 76ers are now interested in drafting Embiid if he is still available.
But there is twist here. Embiid may not want to play in Philadelphia. According to Bill Simmons of ESPN, Embiid’s agent will push for his client to be drafted by either the Lakers or the Celtics if he is not the top pick.
Wojnarowski was a guest on The Dan Patrick Show, and explained that Embiid’s agent could discourage teams from drafting his client by withholding the complete medical information from all teams except the Lakers or the Celtics. This would force the 76ers to make a choice without knowing how much of a risk they are taking.
Suddenly, a draft that appeared to be deep and shaking out exactly as everybody hoped, is now one of the craziest drafts in recent memory and a nightmare for the teams involved.
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