@KUHoops has had the most NBA Draftees as a Big 12 team with 25 in the past 17 years. Texas next with 16.
Andrew Wiggins, 6-8 forward, Kansas. "Just a freak athlete. He'll be one of the top 10 or 12 athletes in the NBA. What concerns me is his motor. Does he care enough? Does it matter to him? I just don't think he has any 'f--- you' in him. I've watched him a lot since high school, and there are times you don't know he's on the court. Then again, for someone who got so maligned, he still averaged 17 and 6 in one of the best conferences in America as an 18-year-old. Shows how warped our perspectives are."
Joel Embiid, 7-foot center, Kansas. "I don't know if you can say he's injury prone. He's had two injuries. The foot injury is fixable, but there are certainly better places to break it. Anytime you hear about a back injury with a person that big, it's a concern. I don't know if it's a coincidence or if he really is injury prone, but it's odd that it happened close together. So it's another piece of information. I was at his workout in L.A. He's so big and quick off his feet. He's more athletic than Greg Oden was. His upside is ridiculous. He's been playing for four years, and he has moves that 12-year vets don't have."
A tradition unlike any other: "Finch" assesses all the NBA draft prospects. Warning: Candor!
Id still take Embiid No. 1. He'll be one of the 10 best players in the NBA within 3-5 years. There are "red flags" w/ the next two guys too.
1. Joel Embiid, C, Kansas
Embiid just oozes potential, and when compared to Hakeem Olajuwon as a freshman at Houston, Embiid compares favorably. Long, athletic and skilled, Embiid has great hands and feet, and is a solid rim protector and rebounder. Each time you see him, he has added something new to his game, and despite the evolution of the game, he is still valuable as a true center in the NBA. Unless a team of doctors tells me not to, I'd still take Embiid No. 1 overall. If healthy, he will be special.
2. Andrew Wiggins, SG, Kansas
You can get hung up on only four points on 2-of-7 shooting versus Stanford if you want to, or that he is not an assertive scorer who burns to take over a game, but you will miss a really fine prospect if you do. (And trying to blame Bill Self for not "adjusting" to a 2-3 zone is laughable. Self didn't stop Wiggins from rebounding, getting into gaps or attacking the zone to score more than four points.) Wiggins is a ridiculous athlete, can fly around on defense and in transition, and is a hard worker who can also score when it's required. Does he force things and force himself on the game? No. But he does strive to make the right play, and usually does. He is worth the selection here as a defender and finisher alone. Wiggins is ahead of Jabari Parker defensively, but is behind Parker on the offensive end.
ESPN Jay Bilas ($)
Any team that doesn’t pick Joel Embiid in Thursday’s NBA Draft will end up regretting it, a source close to the 7-foot center told SNY.tv.
“Any team that doesn’t take him is going to be [screwed] because he’s going to be great,” the source said. “He’s going to be great. He’s more talented and he can do more for a team than those other guys can do. He’s special. The dude is special. He’s had injuries, but he’s a stud. He’s an absolute stud. He will have more of an impact on an NBA game than any of the other guys in the draft — any of them.”
Which brings me to my last tidbit of advice: Don’t let this ordeal prevent you from displaying the same zeal for life and the game of basketball that we were so lucky to see at Kansas. Folks will be quick to label you as a bust because they’re afraid of being sucked in by another big man with injury problems. They label you because it’s easier to be cynical than optimistic.
A lot of good can come from tuning all that out. I played long enough where I retired with enough money to train harness racing horses as a second career. Life is good with my wife and three kids by my side. Folks in my adopted hometown of Lexington, KY, cherish the memory of my Wildcats career rather than my shortcomings as an NBA pro. (Along those lines, make sure you don’t lose touch with the Kansas community, even if you only spent a year there.)
I guess this is my long-winded way of saying, “Everything has a way of working out in the end.” But it’s up to you to make sure it does.
Good luck at Thursday’s draft, and all the best.
Letter to Embiid from Sam Bowie
The good news for whatever team drafts Wiggins on Thursday night is his future is no more certain now, at age 19, than it was a year ago. The trendy comparison for Wiggins is Indiana Pacers forward Paul George, who averaged 14.3 points and 6.2 rebounds as a freshman against WAC competition. At that point, nobody would have pegged George as a future NBA All-Star. Since then, George has maxed out his development, and Wiggins can be a superstar if he does the same.
Statistical analysis also inevitably does Wiggins a disservice because his greatest strength, one-on-one perimeter defense, isn't reflected in the box score. Teams drafting in the top three picks have surely worked to gather more data to evaluate Wiggins' defensive potential.
Those caveats aside, the most likely outcome for Wiggins at this point looks more like quality role player than star. That would concern me if my team was drafting him with the No. 1 overall pick, as our ESPN Insider NBA front office decided to do on behalf of the Cleveland Cavaliers following Joel Embiid's injury. Most worrisome to me is the inevitable hype that will follow Wiggins' selection. If Wiggins has Deng's career, which includes a pair of All-Star selections, that shouldn't be seen as a disappointment. But it will be if fans believe they're getting a historically great talent.
ESPN Kevin Pelton ($)
In just over 24 hours, the Cleveland Cavaliers will have to decide just what to do with their No. 1 pick in the NBA draft. According to reports, though, they’re struggling with whether to take Andrew Wiggins or Jabari Parker.
“They are torn,” an unnamed source told ESPN.com. “They met for three hours, and all they talked about was those two guys.”
They have not, another source told ESPN, reached a decision with Chad Ford reporting that owner Dan Gilbert wants Wiggins and the front office wants Parker.
Joel Embiid, the Kansas center, was the most likely choice to be the No. 1 pick until he underwent foot surgery for a stress fracture, an injury that, coupled with back problems, has caused his stock to drop. Wiggins, the 6-8 Kansas guard, and Parker, Duke’s 6-8 forward, worked out for the Cavs, with Wiggins leaving the better impression.
“You can’t base everything on one one-on-none workout,” a source told ESPN, “but Wiggins was great and Jabari wasn’t. It makes an impact. It makes you go back and reassess everything you saw during the year.”
Wiggins has been quietly ascending. “I know I can never live up to expectations,” he said recently (via USA Today). “I try to set goals for myself and achieve those goals. I just want to be the best player I can be to be successful. I think the NBA is much more my style, but I’m going to be patient. I think right away my defense can be my X factor.”
Count George Stollsteimer as an opponent of the Sixers taking Joel Embiid in this week’s NBA draft. Embiid recently underwent foot surgery, and Stollsteimer — a doctor at the Trenton Orthapedic Group — said that doesn’t bode well for the center’s career.
“My opinion is, it would set off major red flags to me,” Dr. Stollsteimer told the WIP Morning Show on Wednesday. “Immediately, what I start thinking of is [Greg] Oden, Yao Ming–I know there’s comparisons, I think [Michael] Jordan had a similar injury when he was early in his career, but it’s a different animal.”
“Some of these big guys, just to me, it’s very scary,” Dr. Stollsteimer said. “So I don’t know if I’m trading up to get him, I might let him go until [pick] 14th, 15th, if he’s still around at that point, but I don’t even know if I would want to take him at [number] ten. It’s just worrisome.“
LJW Live Blog from NYC/Draft with Matt Tait