The news of Joel Embiid’s stress fracture in his foot threw the entire draft into a flux. Embiid was expected to be the top overall pick in Thursday’s draft.
However, this injury, coupled with his back issues that ended his only season at Kansas, has forced the Cleveland Cavaliers to put their focus towards someone else with the top pick according to CBS Sports’ Ken Berger:
With Joel Embiid’s foot surgery, and the reported 4-6 month recovery that comes with it, the Cavs are said to be leaning toward Duke’s Jabari Parker with the No. 1 pick. Parker is more NBA-ready than Andrew Wiggins, who would go to the Bucks at No. 2.
Parker would be able to slide in seamlessly in the Cavaliers starting lineup. With Luol Deng likely to leave via free agency, the Cavs have a huge hole at the small forward position. With Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters and Tristan Thompson already there, the Cavs could have a very solid young core.
The question now becomes how far does Embiid fall. His agent apparently would prefer him to land in a big market, and the Lakers are open to selecting the big man if he falls to them with the seventh pick.
Philadelphia is a big wild-card as they own two picks in the top-10 of the draft and have already been a part of numerous trade rumors. They were expected to take Wiggins, but he is now unlikely to still be there when they select so everything is up in the air right now.
Lakers Most Likely Draft Candidates