What does Joel Embiid’s injury mean for the Cavs?

Suddenly, nothing seems given in the 2014 NBA Draft. First, we thought Wiggins was a superstar. Then, Parker was the can’t-miss prospect of the class. And then it was Embiid, the younger ahead-of-schedule Hakeem Olajuwon. Now, we’re left with a disappointing Wiggins, offense-only Parker, and hobbled Embiid. Embiid’s injury changes the entire complexion of the draft. He was the surefire top pick before he fractured the navicular bone in his foot. I guess there’s still Dante Exum. But who am I kidding? It’s not like anyone has really seen him play!

The injury to Embiid leaves the Cavs with a few options. It basically boils down to drafting Wiggins, Parker, or trading the pick. Hell, the Cavs could even go with Exum. He’s the prospect we know the least about, and that actually works to his advantage. We haven’t had the chance to pick apart his game yet. It’s worth mentioning that the Cavs could still take Embiid, even the chances of that are pretty slim at this point.

Draft Wiggins

Why they should: Wiggins is the best perimeter defender in the draft. He fits their needs most. He might still have the most upside of anyone in the draft. Don’t draft him if you’re expecting him to be a superstar. He’d complement Kyrie well, and be a low-usage guy who creates extra possessions and wouldn’t cause chemistry problems.

Why they shouldn’t: Wiggins isn’t NBA-ready and won’t contribute to the Cavs, who are bizarrely trying to win now to appease LeBron, or something. He’s one of the least polished players in the top 10 and often disappears in games.

Draft Parker

Why they should: He’s an elite scorer and the most NBA-ready player in this draft. He’ll help lighten Kyrie’s load offensively from day one. He’s one of the more versatile players in the draft and can play off-guard, and either forward position. Parker might have the highest basketball IQ in the draft and showed good leadership in his lone season at Duke. These are all plusses for a Cavs team that dealt with character issues and doesn’t have a winning culture.

Why they shouldn’t: Defense. He’s a terrible defender and had to be subbed out against Mercer in the NCAA tournament. He also had trouble staying in shape when he first arrived at Duke. He should be able to keep his weight in tact in the NBA, but the poor defense is enough to be wary about his future as a franchise centerpiece.

Draft Embiid

Why they should: He’s the best big man in the draft and has one of the highest ceilings of any prospects. He is a rim protector, who, despite his injuries, is one of the most athletic big men in the draft. He’s been the highest-rated prospect all season long, and he still should be. Be patient with Embiid, and it could pay off big time.

Why they shouldn’t: Players with Embiid’s injury don’t fare well. He had back issues last year and now it’s his foot. It’s too risky to invest a top pick in such an injury-prone player.

Trade the pick

Why they should: If they can go and get someone like Kevin Love, however unlikely, then a nucleus of Kyrie and Love could at least get LeBron’s attention. This year’s draft is not even close to a sure thing, like many had projected before the year. Wiggins looks average, Parker doesn’t play defense, and Embiid has injury issues. Getting a proven player is the best way to go.

Why they shouldn’t: Even if they get Love, he probably wouldn’t re-sign, unless LeBron or another big-name free agent gave him a reason to. Why trade the top pick for a one year rental? I mean, other than because you’re the Cavs.

 

 

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