Last year the Cleveland Clinic played a major role in the Cavaliers passing on a pair of centers in the NBA Draft in Nerlens Noel and Alex Len. This year it looks like the Clinic has become a major factor again in helping determine who the Cavaliers will select with the 1st overall pick in 2014.
Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com broke the story today about a potential brake in Joel Embiid’s right foot that was discovered during the Cavaliers physical. YahooSports.com Adrian Wojnarowski followed that up with these tweets:
Cleveland doctors discovered right foot injury in exams and passed info onto Embiid reps, sources tell Yahoo. Fear is a right foot fracture.
Embiid’s consulting w/ orthopedist Dr. Richard Ferkel in L.A.; determination on fracture and possible surgery expected soon, sources tell Y.
So with this information Cavs G.M. David Griffin probably has been reevaluating his potential decision as to who to take number #1 overall next Thursday. More than likely it comes down to two choices, small forwards Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker.
While both one-and-done guys play the same position, they are two totally different types of players.
The 6’8 – 200 pound Wiggins is considered a strong defensive player with a solid offensive game, that makes him the more complete all-around player with ridiculous athletic ability. His 44 inch vertical jump along with his 7-foot wingspan have GM’s throughout the league salivating. His ceiling is considered to be very high. His college coach Bill Self told me he feels that Wiggins offensive game will become more consistent because the NBA style of play suits Wiggins great athleticism, especially in the transition game.
The knock on Wiggins is that he doesn’t have the killer instinct, he’s not aggressive enough. I asked Self about that and the Kansas coach told me, “That’s fair, because with his athletic ability he leaves you wanting more. However his maturity is starting to catch up with his athleticism. He’s going to be a stud!”
The other choice David Griffin has is Parker from Duke. He’s 6’9 but weighs 240 pounds, making his body more physically ready for the NBA competition and pounding. His offensive game is where he will earn his money. Inside and outside, back to the basket or facing up, Jabari Parker can shoot it and score the basketball. His offensive game is more complete and consistent than Wiggins and that’s why a lot of G.M.’s, scouts, coaches and media members feel he is more ready to play and will contribute to a team on offense right away. You hear the term “Plug and Play” with Parker a lot and that’s what will be expected of him where ever he ends up.
The downside to Parker is his defense. His lateral movement and foot speed are of major concern to NBA front office folk on the defensive side of the ball. He may be too slow to guard the quicker, more athletic 3’s and not big enough to guard most power forwards. So you’ll have to give a little on defense to gain on offense.
Could the Cavs still end up taking Embiid depending on the severity of his foot injury? Yes. But for a team who missed badly on number #1 overall pick Anthony Bennett last year and for a team who is desperate to make the playoffs, it’s unlikely they can take a chance with Embiid, but will instead pick between Wiggins and Parker.
Either way they’re going get a potential all-star player who fills their biggest need at small forward. One is more ready to play right now in Parker. The other is the two-way player with more all-around upside in Wiggins. It’s time for David Griffin to make one of his many important off-season decisions. Good luck Griff!