Joel Embiid was believed to be the likely number one overall pick in this summer’s NBA Draft, and that was especially true after he looked strong in recent workouts by all accounts.
But given the fact that he was sidelined by a back injury, the medical tests privately conducted by the teams in a high enough position to select him will play a more important role than the workouts will, and at least one team reportedly didn’t like what they saw.
From ESPN Cleveland:
.@TheRealTRizzo: Sources tell me Joel Embiid’s physical w/ the #Cavs did not go well. Enough red flags that they won’t take him #1 overall.
— ESPN Cleveland (@ESPNCleveland) June 13, 2014
What’s interesting is that this comes just two days after a report out of Milwaukee stated that Cleveland was locked in on Embiid at number one overall.
Several NBA officials told me the Cavs have no desire to unload the top pick and have honed in on Joel Embiid.
— Gery Woelfel (@GeryWoelfel) June 11, 2014
It’s difficult to take any information like this leaked in advance of the draft as gospel, mainly because teams are trying to position themselves to make the best possible selection. And sometimes, that involves sending misinformation out publicly to see how it plays.
Cleveland can’t afford to to take chances with the top pick this time around, after going against conventional wisdom and selecting Anthony Bennett in that slot last year — a pick that didn’t come close to living up to number one overall status, and likely never will.
Milwaukee is up next should the Cavaliers ultimately pass on Embiid, and they liked him in workouts, as well. If their medical professionals see nothing wrong with Embiid, or even see only a slight risk in selecting him, they are in a much better position to take a chance on a player that could be a legitimate future All-Star if health is not a factor.