With the NBA Draft being just under one month away, and Duke having two players that could potentially go in the top 20 picks, it’s time for a NBA mock draft, the first three picks, anyway.
The first three picks in all fairness could go many different ways. There are three different guys who have all been talked about going at the top. Kansas’ Joel Embiid and Andrew Wiggins alongside Duke’s Jabari Parker. These freshman phenoms were all anyone wanted to talk about once the 2013-2014 season was underway. With all of them declaring for the draft—and all of the foregoing the NBA Draft Combine—it’s no question they’ll go at the top. But who goes first?
1. Cleveland Cavaliers select center Joel Embiid.
Yeah. It’s a little bold when it’s known that Embiid suffered from a back injury during the season, but the small chance that he goes down with the same injury is outweighed by his quick feet—something that is uncharacteristic of a center his size.
The Cavaliers need an agile center, that’s no question. If Derek Zeller were to go down, it would be up to Spencer Hawes or Anderson Varejao to pick up the slack, and that would prove to be a bad idea for Cleveland.
2. Milwaukee Bucks select power forward Jabari Parker.
Kansas having the first two overall picks—that’s highly unlikely. Parker has been worked out with the Bucks, but that’s not a shoe-in, considering Wiggins and Australian Dante Exum have also worked out with Milwaukee.
SportsNation’s Chad Ford said that it’s a toss up between Embiid and Parker for who they want. It just depends on who goes first. The Bucks aren’t deep in the power forward position. The second highest paid player on the team is power forward Ersan Ilysaova. The next highest paid power forward on the Bucks is Ekpe Udoh. Neither Ilyasova nor Udoh played in the last five games on the season for Milwaukee. Looks as if the Bucks may have made some payroll errors. The starting gig went to Khris Middleton who averaged 12.1 points and 3.8 rebounds per game.
Ilyasova averaged 11.2 points and 6.2 rebounds per game. Udoh averaged 3.4 points and 3.5 rebounds per game. Parker averaged 19.1 points and 8.7 rebounds per game. Granted comparing NBA statistics to college statistics is about like comparing apples to oranges, but if Parker stays on the same track, he could just steal playing time from Ilysova and Udoh.
3. Philadelphia 76ers select small forward/guard Andrew Wiggins.
It’s well known that the 76ers needed help over the season. They came in dead last in the Atlantic Division and second to last in the entire Eastern Conference (to the Bucks) with a 19-63 record. They lost 26 straight games, tying the NBA record. Why they lost so many games is up for debate, maybe they were “playing sorry for Jabari” or “riggin’ for Wiggins”. Whatever it was, it worked as they landed the third overall pick in the NBA Draft.
“Philly needs some immediate help,” Kansas head coach Bill Self said in an interview. Self went on to say that he can see either Embiid or Wiggins as a Sixer.
The next question is: who goes fourth? Who does Orlando take? All the talk has been about Embiid, Parker and Wiggins. What’s going to happen when the dust settles?