Apr 22, 2014, 11:44 AM EDT
Who will be the No. 1 pick in the 2014 NBA draft?
There are three strong contenders:
- Joel Embiid. With a strong freshman season, the Kansas center appeared on the verge of becoming the consensus choice before a back injury derailed him. He turned his athleticism into efficient production, impressing NBA people no matter which lens they viewed him through. Now, though, It might take an impossibly reassuring medical report to make him the No. 1 pick.
- Andrew Wiggins. Another Kansas freshman, Wiggins entered college as the nation’s top prospect. He started slowly, but by the end of the year, he’d planted himself firmly in the conversation. His offense is still a work in progress, as he too often defers. His defense is stout, raising his floor, but No. 1 picks are typically chosen more for floor than ceiling
- Jabari Parker. Parker played a huge role for Duke, and he handled all his responsibilities well. He has an excellent all-around offensive game, but questions remain about his defense and conditioning.
Jeff Goodman of ESPN polled 30 NBA personnel people on who they’d take, and here are the results:
Jabari Parker: 17 votes
Joel Embiid: 8 votes
Andrew Wiggins: 5 votes
Announcement: Pro Basketball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $40,000 Fantasy Basketball league for Tuesday night’s games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $6,000. Starts at 7pm ET on Tuesday. Here’s the FanDuel link.
I’m not surprised Parker topped the poll. He’s frequently viewed as the draft’s most NBA-ready prospect, and with the stakes high and job security low, some general managers have become risk-averse.
I am surprised he got a majority, rather than just a plurality, of votes. I thought it would be a little more wide open.
I’m also surprised Embiid topped Wiggins, but that will be determined by Embiid’s medical tests closer to the draft (though some general managers might still prefer Wiggins).
It’s unclear whether the 30 personnel people – “from numerous GMs to player personnel guys and NBA scouts” – represent all 30 teams. And obviously, those 30 hold varying levels of influence. Plus, it matters which team wins the lottery, and the responders might be pushing smokescreens anyway.
But as far as the pulse of the league, this is an interesting reference point.
- Coach K on Rose: “Derrick’s played great, not good, and hasn’t held anything back” 0
- Report: Anthony Bennett pulled from pro-am by agent, possibly due to his inclusion in Kevin Love trade talks 40
- Report: Sixers fighting against immediate changes to NBA Draft Lottery system 53
- Team USA going small ball, but how many bigs do they keep on the bench? 4
- Report: LeBron James more popular than he ever was with the Heat 14
- Durant says 2014 USA team better than 2010 version that won gold 6
- Kevin Durant knows you’re talking about his free agency but isn’t giving many clues. He liked what LeBron did. 17
- Byron Scott makes ridiculous optimism sound reasonable 44