Stock watch: The pros and cons of drafting Embiid or Wiggins



We know — with near absolute certainty — that Kansas University basketball products Joel Embiid and Andrew Wiggins will, in some combination, get selected in the top three slots of the 2014 NBA Draft.

What we don't know for sure is how Cleveland's, Milwaukee's and Philadelphia's front offices view each of the lottery-picks-to-be, and their top-three contemporary, Duke's Jabari Parker.

If you've seen Embiid and Wiggins play, you probably have your own theories about which one-year Jayhawk should go higher, and which will have a more productive career.

In that way, we are no different than scouts, general managers and CEOs within various front offices.

To get a sense of how greatly opinions differ on Embiid and Wiggins, check out a Grantland piece by ESPN's Ryen Russillo. He spoke with a general manager, an assistant GM and a director of scouting about the two KU players, Parker and Kentucky's Julius Randle.

Each evaluator opened their thoughts on Embiid with an "if." And that, of course, had to do with the 7-footer's health.

Medical records and testing will show more, but the big man sure looked smooth in a workout in Los Angeles last week.

The Wiggins questions presented by the evaluators with whom Rusillo spoke tend to revolve around his ball-handling, ability to take over and whether he will be a better pro than Parker (because they essentially play the same position).

Thanks to Drew Packham at, we can easily get a look at what many draft prognosticators think of Embiid's and Wiggins' chances. He created a hub of mock drafts, and we added a couple to it to get a clearer picture of where the Kansas duo could land.

Embiid 1st 3rd 1st 3rd
2nd 1st 1st 2nd 3rd 2nd 1st 2nd 1st 2nd 1st 3rd 3rd 1st 1st 3rd 2nd 1st 2nd 1st 2nd 3rd 2nd 1st

As for the NBA teams at the top of the lottery, each has a month to figure it out. For now, here is where each KU player's stock stands.

Joel Embiid

Kansas center Joel Embiid rejects a shot by Texas center Cameron Ridley during the second half on Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas center Joel Embiid rejects a shot by Texas center Cameron Ridley during the second half on Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

Fr., C, 7-foot, 250 pounds; from Yaounde, Cameroon

Stock assessment: When you watch a young man of Embiid's size do the things he can with a basketball, you can almost envision him as a franchise cornerstone for years to come. Throw some muscle, experience, comfort and growing knowledge for the game on that frame and you have a ready-made all-star.

Average mock draft position: 2nd

Current high: 1st (in five mock drafts)

Current low: 3rd (in five mock drafts)

Overall movement: Rising — A week ago, Embiid's average draft position was 3rd. In four weeks, it could be 1st. Don't be surprised if even more outlets project him as the top pick, the closer we get to the June 26 draft. Especially if he's healthy — there's that if again — the buzz around him will steadily get louder, and a growing number of NBA decision-makers will think the center can help turn around a franchise.

Andrew Wiggins

Kansas guard Andrew Wiggins tries to save a loose ball from going out-of-bounds over Oklahoma State forward Kamari Murphy during the first half on Saturday, March 1, 2014 at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

Kansas guard Andrew Wiggins tries to save a loose ball from going out-of-bounds over Oklahoma State forward Kamari Murphy during the first half on Saturday, March 1, 2014 at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater, Oklahoma. by Nick Krug

Fr., G/F, 6-foot-8, 200 pounds; from Vaughan, Ontario, Canada

Stock assessment: Critics will poke holes in Wiggins' ball-handling ability, because he won't be a complete NBA wing until he can slash to the paint in the half court. But teams that fall in love with his freakish athleticism will live with his half-court turnovers and limited overall game while he develops over the next few years. Upside is king in the draft.

Average mock draft position: 2nd

Current high: 1st (in seven mock drafts)

Current low: 3rd (in two mock drafts)

Overall movement: Holding steady — More mock drafts have Wiggins going No. 1 than Embiid or Parker. Still, his stock has potential to rise if he goes in and wows Cleveland with a workout between now and the draft. It seems like Embiid is his biggest competition for the top spot. But the Cavs could opt for a small forward with hops and potential to develop if they don't believe in building around a center.

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Suzi Marshall 5 years, 8 months ago

Embiid in the video was a cruel thing to watch. Kansas fans saw only fleeting moments through a 7-8 game stretch and nothing when it counted most.

Cleveland's number 1 objective is to resign James. They need to put together a competitive team structure to best attract him. They already have the guards and Embiid provides the upside in the post. Wiggin's handle and Parker's poor D will keep them out of the top spot.

Titus Canby 5 years, 8 months ago

Can you imagine a team with both Lebron and Embiid? They'd be unstoppable. Better than the Heat.

kellerman411 5 years, 8 months ago

lol Wiggins at number 1? The only thing funnier is Parker at number 1... Embiid is far and away the most attractive player in the draft. Honestly, I didn't think he would make a real impact his rookie year but seeing him in that video, he's gained at least 10 pounds and he is as quick as any 7' 1" human being you will ever see. Nobody is a sure thing but Embiid is by far your best chance at a super star.

Jonathan Allison 5 years, 8 months ago

Embiid is definitely going to go #1, or else some GM should be fired.

Parker can be good if he embraces the Paul Pierce game, but early on he'll get abused guarding NBA SFs. In college he defended the 4, and there's no way he can guard NBA PFs. That said, he'll find ways to score and rebound, but the team will have to mask his defense. Paul Pierce has learned how be highly effective guarding players who are quicker and more athletic than he is. It's all about scouting reports, angles, and physicality.

Wiggins got bashed in the Grantland article. But ultimately, he's got way more upside than Parker. He's already an NBA defender and won't be a liability on that end. So any team can throw him on the floor and play him a ton of minutes to develop his offensive skills. They greatly disrespect his jumper and he'll prove it in workouts. He's going to work on his game and should be #2, in my biased opinion.

I find it amusing though that everyone has made it a 3 horse race in the draft. If the draft has proven anything over the years it's that there will be some players who are taken way to low and who surprise everyone as rookies. Other players taken way to high who never pan out.

kellerman411 5 years, 8 months ago

Then again, the Cavs do have the first pick. They'll probably take Tyler Self.

Robert Brock 5 years, 8 months ago

Meh. This is one of the weakest drafts that I can remember. These kids should have stayed in school and worked on their weaknesses...

Rich Hetherington 5 years, 8 months ago

I think both Embiid and Wiggins have incredibly high ceilings in the NBA, although both could be mediocre, or even busts as well. While both ceilings are very high, if healthy, it's safe to say that Embiids floor is a lot higher. If there are any health questions whatsoever, I could not fault a team for taking Wiggins, and who knows, he may end up being a bonafied super-star in a couple of years.

That being said, we all know the possibilities of Embiid, who could end up being like Olajuwon, or more likely an Olajuwon/Mutombo/Hibbert hybrid. Or he could have health/back issues and have a career more like Andrew Bynum or Greg Oden (not that his game resembles either of theirs, but you get what I'm saying). All I know is I hope to see both of them drafted high, and both of them have long successful careers as that will shine very positively on our program!

Mark Lindrud 5 years, 8 months ago

If Cleveland believes it has a shot at getting Lebron back then it picks Embiid, if not it is Wiggins. Having Irving and Embiid could be pretty enticing for Lebron. Another year of Anthony Bennett as the possible hybrid should be funny because he should not have been the first pick last year because he is not a true PF and not quick enough to be the SF. If they do get Lebron back by some miracle and have Deng, then they can trade him and Bennett to get a PF unless Bennett shows something this year. With Lebron, Embiid, Waiters and Irving it would be a young team with talent. Then again Lebron may decide the Cavs owner is an idiot and either stay in Miami(his probable best option) or go somewhere else like Chicago.

Jonathan Allison 5 years, 8 months ago

I agree. I see about a 1/1000 chance of Lebron going back to Cleveland while Dan Gilbert still owns the franchise.

95% chance Lebron signs another contract with Miami and they continue to build around him like LA did with Kobe post Shaq.

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