NBA GM: 'You can't use a Top 5 pick' on injured Joel Embiid

Written By Sean Deveney
Wiggins Embiid-052014-AP-FTR.jpg
(AP Photo)

Just one week away from the NBA Draft, the Cavaliers were looking at a tough choice to make—go with the athleticism and upside of Andrew Wiggins, the polished offensive game of Jabari Parker or the overall inside presence of Joel Embiid.

While there were claims that the Cavs were leaning one way or another, a source indicated to Sporting News that there was still an open competition for the top spot.

That all may change—Embiid suffered a foot injury this week, and the problem with the foot combined with the back injury that ended Embiid’s season at Kasnas has raised significant red flags. Embiid suffered a stress fracture in his right foot and needs surgery, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.com.  

MORE: Wiggins tops SN's Mock Draft | Smart to Magic? | Embiid injures foot 

“I think there is a point at which you use a pick on him, where you’re hoping maybe these are just fluke things that are not going to be recurring,” one general manager told Sporting News. “But that point is not in the Top 5 or so. You can't use a Top 5 pick. I think there are too many other good options there to think about using the pick on one who has these injury problems.”

Embiid was projected to go No. 2 to the Bucks in Sporting News’ latest mock draft.

More should be known about the severity of Embiid’s injury tomorrow after he is evaluated. But while Embiid’s stock will almost surely drop behind Wiggins and Parker, just how far he will slip is debatable. He is still a Top 10 pick, the GM said, pointing out that Anthony Bennett (shoulder), Alex Len (foot) and Nerlens Noel (knee) were all chosen near the top of the draft last year despite injury concerns.

But with a strong class that will feature Wiggins and Parker, as well as Australian guard Dante Exum, guard Marcus Smart, plus big men Aaron Gordon, Noah Vonleh and Julius Randle, it is easy to foresee Embiid slipping to the No. 8-10 range.

Of course, any time an injury-prone big man goes ahead of an athletic wing, the case of Michael Jordan being picked behind Sam Bowie is mentioned.

“This is a not a Sam Bowie situation,” the GM said. “Foot injuries are scary, with big guys, because you think of someone like Yao Ming who could not overcome that. Back injuries, too.

"But your medical staff is going to have a handle on how these injuries project and what will be needed to get them taken care of. That really wasn’t the case in 1984—there was a lot more guesswork back then. So it might be a gamble with (Embiid), but it is going to be an educated gamble, if that makes sense.”

As for Cleveland, the notion of trading the top overall pick probably gets a little stronger. The Cavaliers are trying to get a look at Australian guard Dante Exum, who some believe is the best player in this draft class. The Bucks have considered Exum at No. 2. But now appear to be leaning toward Parker.

The Sixers, who have the third overall pick, as well as the 10th pick, have been after Wiggins, and would be willing to trade up to No. 1 to get him. They do not want to give up both picks in order to do so, however.

DRIBBLES

Oklahoma State point guard Marcus Smart raised some eyebrows when he put out a tweet claiming the Jazz are not interested in him at No. 5, a tweet that was later deleted. When Jazz VP of personnel Walt Perrin met with the media shortly thereafter, he denied that emphatically.

“I talked with Marcus’ agent probably three or four times before I talked to him the night of the tweet,” Perrin said. “So he knows that we have interest in Marcus. Whether the tweet was accurate or not, I have no idea, but we do have interest in Marcus, we have done a lot of background on Marcus, we had an interview in Chicago with Marcus, we have watched a lot of tapes of Marcus. If we get guys in, that’s great. If we don’t get guys in for workouts, we’ve done our homework, we’ve seen them. And if we like them, we will take them.”

That has pumped up speculation that both Smart and the Magic have mutual interest at No. 4. But Smart has worked out for the Lakers (No. 7) and Celtics (No. 6), and Perrin undermined the notion that Smart would not want to go to Utah because of the presence of Trey Burke by pointing out that the two could play together.

“They’re trying to do their job and I am trying to do mine,” Perrin said. “Whatever the reason is, that’s on them.”

— One of the criticisms that emerged over the course of the college season when it comes to Michigan forward Glenn Robinson III was that he could be too passive, too willing to give up the ball when aggression was called for.

He doesn’t disagree on that count. “Sometimes, yeah,” Robinson said. “When I see an open person, I am hitting him. It is a gift that I have, finding open teammates. But that is one thing I am working on is being more aggressive, finding my shot more and that is something I really need to do no matter team I get on.”

Uh, are we sure that this is truly the son of Glenn “Big Dog” Robinson, the former Bucks star who rarely met a shot he did not like?

“He got off quite a few shots,” Robinson said, laughing. “So I don’t know where it came from. Maybe I got it from my mom.”

Latest News

NBA-Draft-Board-Getty-FTR-042920.jpg
When is the NBA Draft in 2021? Date, time, location, lottery odds & more to know
When is the NBA Draft in 2021? Date, time, location, lottery odds & more to know
cade-cunningham-getty-061721-ftr.jpg
NBA Draft lottery 2021, explained: Updated odds for every team to win the No. 1 overall pick
Draft lottery, explained, plus odds for every team to draw first pick
kevin-durant-khris-middleton-getty-061821-ftr.jpg
Khris Middleton gives Bucks steadying force they need in Game 6 win over Nets
Middleton gives Bucks steadying force they need in Game 6 win
Carmelo Anthony and Lala FTR .jpg
La La Anthony files for divorce from Carmelo Anthony, report says
La La Anthony files for divorce from Carmelo Anthony, report says
jamahl-mosley-getty-061721-ftr.jpg
Who is Jamahl Mosley? Mavericks assistant coach could be top candidate to replace Rick Carlisle
Who is Jamahl Mosley? Mavs assistant could replace Rick Carlisle