Kansas center Joel Embiid has become the odds-on favorite to be the No. 1 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft over the past few weeks. The Cleveland Cavaliers have the top pick in this year’s draft and rumors have persisted that they preferred Embiid over both college teammate Andrew Wiggins and Duke’s Jabari Parker. The only issue surrounding Embiid was his health as he suffered a back injury late in his only season of college basketball. But now it looks like that won’t be an issue.
Initially a report surfaced that claimed Embiid’s physical with Cavs doctors did not go well. Based on what we’ve been hearing about Embiid’s workouts, that came as a huge shock. That initial report has now been countered by a report that says his back is fine and Cleveland actually cleared him. The first report was likely a smokescreen by the Cavs to deter the Milwaukee Bucks from possibly selecting Embiid with the No. 2 pick.
Cleveland is currently shopping the top overall selection, and the team’s most-likely trade partner is the Philadelphia 76ers, who hold the No. 3 pick. The planned scenario would see the 76ers get the top pick so they could take Wiggins, and the Cavs would hope they could still land Embiid at No. 3. My sources with the Bucks claim they currently prefer Parker to the other two top guys this year anyway, but that could always change.
The important thing about this report is that Embiid has been cleared by the Cavs, which means his back should not be an issue moving forward. It also means he should be able to step on the court immediately in the NBA.
According to what we’ve been told about Embiid’s workouts, his back is fine and he has been dominating.