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Joel Embiid looked good in workouts, so what should Cleveland do now with No. 1 pick?

Jun 4, 2014, 8:45 AM EDT

Joel Embiid AP

Cleveland needs talent. Much more of it. They got a star in Kyrie Irving but have missed on other picks in recent years and they remain in the lottery despite owner Dan Gilbert saying he wanted to be back in the playoffs (which in the East should not be that hard to do).

They have another No. 1 pick and can’t blow it. Not again, as they did on Anthony Bennett last year (he could still pan out to be a rotation player in the league, but they passed over some much better guys to get a rotation player?).

Who do they take: Andrew Wiggins? Joel Embiid? Jabari Parker?

Embiid, the 7-footer out of Kansas, looked good, moved fluidly, got banged on by some former NBA big men and his injured back held up well in workouts in Los Angeles recently. That had a lot of people saying he jumped to the top of the Cavaliers draft board.

But PBT’s draft expert Ed Isaacson of NBADraftBlog.com and Rotoworld says not so fast, there are other factors in play here.

“For many other teams, Embiid being okay physically would leap him ahead of the other main options, Wiggins and Parker, but this is Cleveland and how they handle this pick may require a lot more thought,” Isaacson told PBT. “The team clearly reached the past couple of years with Dion Waiters at #4 in 2012 and Anthony Bennett at #1 in 2013. Embiid could be a star in the NBA, but he still has a long way to go, and if you watched him play against similar sized players last year, it becomes more evident. Parker may be considered the “safest” of the three options, but I don’t see where he fits with the current team, especially if the team isn’t ready to give up on Bennett yet. Wiggins to me is still the best option at #1 with a great combination of being able to come in and make some impact immediately, but enough untapped potential that Cleveland should see significant growth from him over a number of seasons.”

[MORE: Multiple lottery picks available in trades ... at the right price]

Fair or not fair, Parker is often third in these discussions with the reason being he is projected to have a lower “ceiling” than the other guys at the top of the draft board. Which is really not fair, Isaacson notes.

“I think the idea of Parker’s “ceiling” becomes more prominent when you put him in a discussion that involves the likes of Embiid, Wiggins, and even Dante Exum,” Isaacson told PBT. “Unfortunately, no matter how often people want to use the term ‘ceiling,’ it has no concrete meaning, and it becomes less meaningful when it gets tied to a player’s age.

“The general idea with Parker is he is so advanced offensively for his age, that there can’t be any real significant improvement likely, which is wrong. There are plenty of ways he can improve, especially over the next few seasons, but when you factor in the defensive part of the game, it’s easy to see why people get “down” on him compared to Wiggins and Embiid. When people envision Wiggins long-term, they see a player who could make a big positive impact on both ends of the floor, and Embiid, even if he just tops out as an average offensive player, could still be the rim protector that teams are looking for. I just don’t see Parker ever having that kind of full impact, even if he can become one of the top scorers in the league.”

[MORE: Watch Joel Embiid throw down dunks]

To me, Cleveland needs to bring in all three of these guys, grade them out after workouts, have the doctors look them over (particularly Embiid’s back) then take the best guy. Not the best player today, but the guy who will be the best player in three years, Position doesn’t matter, talent matters, the Cavs need to get as much of it as they can.

  1. goraidersgospurs - Jun 4, 2014 at 8:52 AM

    I say they will not draft Joel, Parker nor Wiggins they will draft another sleeper to stash on the bench!!

  2. bknowledge - Jun 4, 2014 at 9:00 AM

    Trade the Pick:
    #1 Pick and Dion Waiters or Tristan Thompson for:
    #4 Pick and Aaron Afflalo (Orlando)
    #5 Pick and Gordon Hayward (Utah)
    or
    Pick Wiggins…

    • loungefly74 - Jun 4, 2014 at 11:13 AM

      Wiggins…

    • pbtunpaidwriter - Jun 4, 2014 at 11:58 AM

      @bknowledge:

      Do you want the Cavs to ruin their franchise (AGAIN).

      You’re grossly undervaluing the #1 pick

      Afflalo – 29 y/o with a flukey good season on a bad team last year
      Gordon Hayward – overrated

      What a joke

      • bknowledge - Jun 4, 2014 at 3:54 PM

        Afflalo is still only 28…has shot over 39% from the 3 for his career and is signed to a reasonable contract. Hayward is a bit of a stretch. But, Hayward and Afflalo look to me like they could be starters on championship contenders. Afflalo or Hayward could play major minutes for the Spurs or Heat (this year). Dion and Tristan wouldn’t see the court for either team. Two starters are better than 1. I think the Cavs are better off with Afflalo or Hayward and Julius Randle than Wiggins and Dion.
        Unless, Wiggins becomes the next Durant. I definitely wouldn’t risk drafting Embiid with the number 1 pick. And you might be able to get him with the number 4 or 5 pick. I can’t see the Cavs drafting Jabari Parker. They already have a number 1 scorer that doesn’t play a lot of defense (Kyrie).
        If the Cavs made the trade I suggested and resigned their current players, their team would be:
        Starters:
        Spencer Hawes
        Julius Randle
        Luol Deng
        Afflalo
        Kyrie
        bench of: Anthony Bennett, Tyler Zeller, Jarrett Jack, Varejoa

        Taking Wiggins might be better, but there’s also the chance that he and Kyrie get into an Alpha dog fight…

      • bknowledge - Jun 4, 2014 at 4:07 PM

        If I am under-valuing the number 1 pick so much, I still think the Cavs should trade the pick…ask Utah for Derrick Favors and #5 pick for the #1 pick and Tristan…or Orlando for Afflalo and Mo Harkless or Tobias Harris and #4 pick for #1 pick and a player: Jarrett Jack/Tristan/Dion…or a swap or a future number 1…

  3. csbanter - Jun 4, 2014 at 9:16 AM

    The Cavs need Jabari Parker. Embiid may turn out to be great but Parker is ready now. It’s too soon to give up on Bennett. Mike Brown had zero offensive strategy. Maybe a new coach can get the Cavs up and running. Otherwise trade this pick for an established player and a lottery pick.

  4. sportsfan18 - Jun 4, 2014 at 9:22 AM

    Cavs should select Wiggins or Parker…

    Embiid very well could be a star…

    But the Cavs have been the Cavs for so long…

    They need a safer pick. IF and I said if Embiid develops further back issues…

    Could Wiggins or Parker get injured? Sure.

    Also, it isn’t like there is Embiid and then the talent level drops so far off. The big three in this draft are all solid and it’s not like one is “settling” if they land any of these three so with that being the case, don’t take a 7 footer with a back issue at 19 or 20 yrs old…

  5. onereasonableman - Jun 4, 2014 at 9:49 AM

    A few workouts, even against NBA talent, does not mean his back will hold up over the long term. It means his back is ok now. The CAVS do not have the room to make a mistake here so they should opt for the best pick with all available information. That appears to be Wiggins.

    • ranfan12 - Jun 4, 2014 at 3:41 PM

      He should visit the suns medical staff. he’ll be fine in no time

  6. shanelsweet - Jun 4, 2014 at 9:58 AM

    Just last year Noel was at the top of the list, and he fell like a rock (and still looks like he weighs about 150 lbs or so to me). Can Embiid fall to the Celts or Lakers? Wouldn’t that be something to see!

    • tribebuckeyesteelercavfan - Jun 4, 2014 at 10:02 AM

      I could see that depending on how his back checks out considering tho Noel doesn’t have the size, its a lot easier to recover from an ACL and project it than it is with a back issue. A more apt comparison would be Jared Sullinger who slid all the way from the top 10 to the mid 20s

      • duhwighthoward - Jun 4, 2014 at 10:56 AM

        and rightfully so. boy is he a fat arse.

  7. John X - Jun 4, 2014 at 10:28 AM

    Take Embid and give Kyrie someone to throw the ball up to at the rim. Call Philly and try to get Thad Young, a pro who is underrated. Give them any big(Thompson or Zeller) they want for him and a lottery protected swap of 1’s for next year, unprotected to Top 5 the following year or their 2 this year. Trade Waiters for Gordon Hayward who would be a better match for Kyrie. Than let them learn together.

    • felser - Jun 4, 2014 at 12:38 PM

      So why would the other guy trade Hayward for Waiters? And how does a swap of #1’s help Philly when Cleveland will almost surely have the lower pick?

      • John X - Jun 7, 2014 at 11:59 PM

        I wouldn’t. But earlier in the season they were discussing that and giving Cleveland a pick instead! So I would see if they were still feeling that way. And no one knows who drafts where year to year. Swaps can be valuable.

  8. jamesk2465 - Jun 4, 2014 at 10:31 AM

    I like Wiggins as a pick. From seeing him play you can tell he’s gonna be a great cutter in the nba and that should free up the need to have the ball in his hands since we have Dion and Kyrie for that. Not to mention 2 other Canadians on the team. The cavs don’t have a lot of 2 way players and Wiggins has all the makings to become 1.

  9. phillysports1 - Jun 4, 2014 at 10:42 AM

    They need Embiid. But I would not be surprise if the pick is traded to the Sixers for our 3rd pick and multiple second round picks.

    • sixerstrong - Jun 4, 2014 at 11:07 AM

      That would be great, but I can’t see them trading down for only a few seconds. Maybe if you include Thad in the trade, but I don’t see that happening, and seems like quite a lot just to move up two spots.

      • John X - Jun 4, 2014 at 11:17 AM

        Doesn’t work to trade down and get Thad because you would probably get Parker and have a worse logjam at the 4 spot than they have today. Wiggins to me is still a question mark. For every Lebron there is a Corey Maggette. Good player. All Star. But not the difference maker like you hope he will be. Embiid.

      • sixerstrong - Jun 4, 2014 at 12:17 PM

        Good point about Thad/3rd. I think Wiggins makes the most sense for the Sixers in the context of the current team. He appears to be good off the ball, which allows MCW to do his thing and Noel can play clean up. I don’t think he’ll need to be Lebron.

  10. phillysports1 - Jun 4, 2014 at 11:26 AM

    I’ll take Parker over Wiggins. But if Embiid is there at #3 I’ll take him. And at #10 if Stauskas OR G. Harris is available then that’s my choice.

    But I’m hoping we draft Parker at #3 , and Gordon at #10.

    • felser - Jun 4, 2014 at 12:41 PM

      Gordon isn’t falling to #10. Stauskas, G. Harris, Young all make some sense at #10.

    • unxpexted1 - Jun 4, 2014 at 2:06 PM

      I do think Parker is the perfect fit for that team and that city. Seems like the type of kid that could be a fan favorite in Philly. Wiggins doesn’t quite have that charisma needed from a philly star.

  11. lbeezyse - Jun 4, 2014 at 1:19 PM

    I see the Cavs being players in the K-Love sweepstakes. They need a proven player to mix with the high end young talent in place. I think the #1 and some players would get it done. Love and Irving would create a good pair and the Cavs would still have cap space to bring in another player to create a legit big three. (Maybe it would be enough to entice LeBron to return and try to bring a championship to CLE). It’s not too far out of the realm of possibilities.

    • capsfan14 - Jun 4, 2014 at 4:05 PM

      K-Love, Lebron, and Irving…. That’s scary.

  12. phillysports1 - Jun 4, 2014 at 2:00 PM

    You never know if Gordon falls to #10. But if he do I hope Philly pick him up ( not getting my hopes up on that one )

  13. unxpexted1 - Jun 4, 2014 at 2:03 PM

    I will always contend that Jabari is the best player in this draft. But I think if I’m Cleveland I’m going with Embid, barring any back issues which is definetely a big deal. I think the fit is better. I think they have gotten enough wing play for this team, but Tyler Zeller and a old Verajoa isn’t going to cut it.

  14. phillysports1 - Jun 4, 2014 at 2:03 PM

    Because Philly needs to secure either Parker or Wiggins, and Cavs trading their #1 to Philly for their #3 and MULTIPLE SECOND ROUND PICKS benefits Cleveland.

    • floreskins - Jun 4, 2014 at 3:15 PM

      #3 and Thad for #1? Thad would fill in nicely in Cleveland when Deng walks

  15. phillysports1 - Jun 4, 2014 at 3:02 PM

    We want a go-to-guy that can score in a heartbeat. Based on scouting reports, Parker needs to fall in our lap.

  16. 1509lucky - Jun 5, 2014 at 10:28 AM

    Kevin Love and or LeBron in Cleveland is NEVER,EVER going to happen. Sorry

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