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 NBA.com, 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.
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.
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.
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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