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Joel Embiid impresses in L.A. workout, emerges as consensus No. 1 pick

May 24, 2014, 12:30 PM EDT

Joel Embiid Joel Embiid

Even in what appears to be the deepest draft class to come along in quite some time, Joel Embiid had emerged as the favorite to be taken with the No. 1 overall pick before a back injury he sustained began to cloud those opinions.

Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker and Dante Exum are all talented and intriguing prospects, but Embiid’s combination of size and skill set had vaulted him to the top of most lists.

The Clippers hosted a group workout in Los Angeles that was well-attended by scouts and NBA personnel from the bulk of the league’s teams, and Embiid was among the participants. Reports were largely unanimous that he looked solid, and reclaimed the status of No. 1 pick in most observers’ eyes.

From Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv (via Basketball Insiders):

“I did not see any issues with his back,” one veteran NBA scout on hand at the workout told SNY.tv. “He looked very agile and athletic.”

“He looks great,” a second scout said. “Running, jumping, dunking, bent up like a pretzel in warmups and stretching exercises. Had two ex-NBA bigs [Brian Scalabrine and Will Perdue] banging on him underneath. He passed the eyeball test big time. Move him up.

“He helped himself today.”

From Chad Ford of ESPN.com:

Embiid quickly re-asserting claim to # 1 pick here. Added muscle, still has quick feet & a beautiful jumper. No evidence of back issues. Just spoke with Embiid. Told me his back is 100 percent. Been working out hard for last 3 weeks. Embiid said he’s gained 15 pounds. Up to 265. Still getting back into shape. Got a bit winded in workout but still looked quick & explosive.

From Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

Watching Joel Embiid in workout for league executives in Santa Monica. Impossible to imagine passing on him at No. 1.

The Cavaliers have the top pick in the draft, and GM David Griffin said after winning the Draft Lottery that there was no clear-cut No. 1 pick in his mind. If Cleveland decides to go in an unconventional direction as it did by selecting Anthony Bennett with the top pick last year, there would be value in dealing the pick this time, considering what’s now becoming a consensus that Embiid is too good to pass up.

  1. phillysports1 - May 24, 2014 at 12:38 PM

    Good news for Philly Phans.

    • misremembered72 - May 24, 2014 at 12:51 PM

      I guess that means the Bucks take Wiggins and we get Parker, right?

    • sasquash20 - May 24, 2014 at 2:29 PM

      I want Embiid on my Sixers. Noel is too skinny to play the 5.

    • trevor123698 - May 24, 2014 at 3:58 PM

      parker is garbage

  2. thevikesarebest - May 24, 2014 at 12:58 PM

    I’m sure he is just making sure he doesn’t slip to the godawful lakers.

    • kb2408 - May 24, 2014 at 2:13 PM

      If the LAKERS are “godawful” what are teams like the Vikes, and Timberwolves….you know, perennial losers? I bet you he would much rather play for the LAKERS than the T-Wolves. Just worry about keeping Love…Never mind, too late!!

      • blueintown - May 24, 2014 at 2:14 PM

        Also godawful.

    • asimonetti88 - May 24, 2014 at 2:16 PM

      Or even worse, the Timberwolves.

    • smoothaswilkes - May 24, 2014 at 3:36 PM

      Still angry that the Lakers moved from Minneapolis?

  3. phillysports1 - May 24, 2014 at 1:00 PM

    Hopefully.

  4. vols84 - May 24, 2014 at 1:18 PM

    Embid is brittle

    • apkyletexas - May 24, 2014 at 1:20 PM

      Greg Oden passed the eyeball test prior to the draft.

  5. haaaaasoooooo - May 24, 2014 at 1:19 PM

    Please please take him Cleveland! Then wiggins to the bucks. The Greek Freak and wiggy at the 3 and 2? Call it the ” freak show” and put butts in the seats!
    Still a couple years away. Oh, and 10 good front office decisions away. But that would still be fun to watch. And wiggins actually plays defense? Who knew?

    • 00maltliquor - May 25, 2014 at 2:31 AM

      I agree. I don’t want to see Wiggy waste away in CLE (although if I had to bet, I bet that’s exactly where he is going. #1). I wanna see Wiggy and Giannis Antetoknjhbpqowjexhcsjcoumpo together and bring Fear The Deer back, making MIL rise up from the ashes. I really want to see the Bucks do good for some reason.

  6. tcclark - May 24, 2014 at 1:21 PM

    Now let’s hope Jabari Parker quickly improves his defense. Wiggins would be awesome at number 3

  7. phillyguyindc - May 24, 2014 at 1:23 PM

    Until everyone needs another article to write. Then it will be Wiggins again. Having said that, I hope this is true, Sixers don’t need Embiid.

  8. football58 - May 24, 2014 at 1:29 PM

    I hope it works out for Embiid and he is not the next Greg Oden with all the injury problems. But once you have back problems, they never seem to go away.

  9. pbtunpaidwriter - May 24, 2014 at 1:38 PM

    A legit 7 footer who averaged 11ppg/8rpg/2.6bpg in JUST 23 minutes at Kentucky! Shot 63% on FGs and 69% from the line.

    His improvement since he started playing basketball only 4 years ago is ridiculous and he supposedly has a great work ethic and is a good kid.

    I’m no doctor but Drummond also had a stress fracture in his back late last year and dominated this past season.

    This kid is legit and I’d definitely take him number 1 or trade the pick for an established superstar.

    • percybowl - May 24, 2014 at 6:57 PM

      he played at kansas

  10. sportsnut101 - May 24, 2014 at 2:22 PM

    Wow he held his own against the great will purdue
    He’s due for Hall of Fame now

    Most 7ft guys can’t play but u can’t teach height I have better skills then these 7ft scrubs
    I like Brian he played hard but never for minutes waisted career

    • realfootballfan - May 25, 2014 at 4:12 AM

      NBA executives will never learn. Unless the 7 footer looks like Shaq or Tim Duncan coming out, I would never take them. The Heat are on their way to their 4th straight Finals with a bunch of role 4’s and 5’s. The Bulls won 6 titles in 8 years with role 4′ and 5’s (although Rodman was very good at his specific role). Great wing players who play both ends of the court are what dominate this league, then you sprinkle the other parts around them. This guy’s not Duncan, not Shaq, not Olajuwon, not even Ewing, but some dummy’s going to think they can make him into something special but will instead end up with the next Andrew Bogut or something, a good player but definitely not worth the first pick in such a stacked draft when we look back on it. SMH.

  11. 00maltliquor - May 24, 2014 at 3:17 PM

    Will Purdue…well that was a throwback!

    • blueintown - May 24, 2014 at 4:07 PM

      One of the all-time great trades in the history of sports: Will Perdue for Dennis Rodman. Can’t imagine that Spurs GM ever amounted to anything after that.

    • sportsfan18 - May 24, 2014 at 8:04 PM

      Da Bulls…

      Da Rings…dude has FOUR rings…

      Not bad being a Bull with MJ and collecting hardware and then having to “suffer” on the Spurs with Timmy and company and pick up another shiny trinket there too…

      Collected over $22 million along the way too…

      • 00maltliquor - May 25, 2014 at 2:36 AM

        And got in his own Campbell’s Chunky soup commercial too while on the Spurs! Please someone tell me you remember this! lol I’mma have to hit up youtube right now, there HAS to be evidence! BRB…

  12. phillysports1 - May 24, 2014 at 9:03 PM

    Dude noel at the 5 will be fine. He’s still young; there’s a lot of time to hit the weight room. We need Parker or wiggins

  13. revren10 - May 24, 2014 at 10:33 PM

    Greg Oden part duex

    • 1historian - May 25, 2014 at 3:39 PM

      Almost but not quite – learn how to spell

  14. realfootballfan - May 25, 2014 at 4:04 AM

    This guys’ going to be the Darko of this draft for whatever sucker takes him. Seems like another Cleveland mistake waiting to happen.

  15. sellahh - May 25, 2014 at 1:17 PM

    He dominated White Mamba and 80 year old Will Perdue in a workout session.
    Brace yourselves.

  16. scbaby2013 - May 26, 2014 at 11:52 AM

    C’mon Cleveland pick another terrible pick…cavs suck smh. If I were them I’d trade this pick

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