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Potential No. 1 pick Joel Embiid makes it official, will enter NBA Draft

Apr 9, 2014, 3:47 PM EDT

Joel Embiid Joel Embiid

Joel Embiid made official what everyone expected on Wednesday:

Embiid announced he is entering the NBA Draft. He said so at a press conference at Kansas University, with Jayhawks coach Bill Self next to him. Here is what he said, via the Topeka Capital-Journal:

“Looking at different scenarios and gathering info of what was best for me … either way was best for me,” Embiid said. “Talking to my mentor, it was best the choice.”

While Embiid had publicly flirted with the idea of staying another year at KU, when you are a potential No. 1 pick (and really not lower than No 2 on anybody’s draft board) you should come out. You can still go back and get your degree, but that is millions of guaranteed dollars (and starting the clock later on future earnings) you are leaving on the table.

Embiid as a prospect wowed NBA scouts — he’s an athletic, mobile, a 7-foot center who averaged 11.2 points (shooting 63 percent), 8.1 rebounds and 2.6 blocks a game for the Jayhawks tis season. And he’s only been playing the game a handful of years, his potential is higher than anyone’s in this draft, even Andrew Wiggins (because of his size).

PBT’s NBA Draft expert, Ed Isaacson of NBAdraftblog.com and Rotoworld, confirmed that Embiid is likely a top two pick, a good rim protector whose offensive game developed quickly, a good sign. The potential is there. However, to quote Isaacson speaking to PBT, “He likely needs a lot more all-around development than people realize.”

Then there is the back question.

Embiid missed the last six games of the season including the NCAA Tournament with a stress fracture in his lower back. That has raised the eyebrows of NBA teams — depending on where it is on the spine and on that individual vertebra it could have long-term implications. Self and Kansas played it down, but NBA teams will want their doctors to get a good look at this before investing in him.

It could be nothing — Andre Drummond had a stress fracture in his lower back that healed and shows no signs of impacting him now — but it could be something. NBA teams are cautious that way after having watched other highly drafted big men have their bodies betray them.

If Embiid gets a clean bill of health he may well be the No. 1 pick. If it’s not, it’s because whoever wins the lottery likes Wiggins’ potential better. But Embiid would go No. 2. (It’s hard to make any kind of legitimate mock draft before the NBA Draft lottery.)

  1. cfutch - Apr 9, 2014 at 5:09 PM

    Shocking!

  2. determineflksmakeit - Apr 9, 2014 at 6:41 PM

    “Tis” is the season to be jolly…

  3. kb2408 - Apr 9, 2014 at 7:27 PM

    He’s gonna look great in PURPLE & GOLD! Can you say “frozen envelope”?!!

  4. therealbigben - Apr 9, 2014 at 8:10 PM

    Best of luck to JoJo. Hope he doesn’t get stuck in Milwaukee, not that Philly would be better. I second the notion of a frozen envelope coming on this year

  5. buffalo65 - Apr 9, 2014 at 8:46 PM

    Wiggins will go first, and follow Kevin Durant to Toronto in a couple years to win some titles. Basketball power shifts north.

    • ranfan12 - Apr 10, 2014 at 12:03 AM

      kevin durant and toronto? for what?

  6. sumkat - Apr 10, 2014 at 1:47 AM

    that’s basically all the “big guns” except Parker and Randle now, correct?

    • unxpexted1 - Apr 10, 2014 at 8:36 AM

      Randle is set to declare “reportedly”

  7. 00maltliquor - Apr 10, 2014 at 2:42 AM

    I’m always leery of players that have only been playing a handful of years before they enter the draft.

    Just says to me the game is not flowing through your veins, you’re just tall and have athletic gifts far beyond that of a normal person and this is a job that will land you tons of money, chicks and fame because of it. Not saying he won’t be good. I don’t know that. But it just raises a lot of questions for me.

    • Dan Camponovo - Apr 10, 2014 at 6:58 AM

      or that he’s from Cameroon and grew up playing soccer, like literally every other child in Cameroon

    • unxpexted1 - Apr 10, 2014 at 8:39 AM

      Maybe not the best comparison but Stephen Adams from OKC was the same way. Athletic freak with some natural skill-set, but only been playing organized ball for two years. IF you drafta guy like that it’s definitely a LONG term project. Having skills to play is awesome but you gotta know the game.

      I’d prefer to draft him if I’m a team that doesn’t need him right away.

      • unxpexted1 - Apr 10, 2014 at 8:40 AM

        or i’f i’m a team with multiple first round pics.

  8. 1historian - Apr 10, 2014 at 12:25 PM

    unxpexted1 – good point. My Celts have 2#1 picks this year, 9 in the next 5 drafts. Drafting him would be risky – I keep thinking of Greg Oden from 7 years back. 7 footers sometimes are injury prone.

    Randle impressed me in the tournament.

  9. buffalo65 - Apr 10, 2014 at 10:02 PM

    Durant to Toronto as a free agent. It was his favorite team growing up. He will come.

  10. scbaby2013 - Apr 14, 2014 at 9:47 PM

    Hope all these players turn out to be good. Wish they could stay at least 3 yrs to fine tune their game.

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