CLEVELAND – With the 2014 NBA Draft less than one month away,the Cleveland Cavaliers could be eyeing Kansas Jayhawks center, Joel Embiid.
According to ESPN and The Cleveland Plain Dealer, the former Jayhawks big man is set to have a physical to with the Cavaliers, who hold the top pick in the draft. Cleveland has expressed some concern over Embiid’s back, which caused him to sit out the last six games of the season and miss the Phillips Big 12 Tournament.
If healthy, there is no reason Cleveland should pass him up. But that’s a big if.
With Spencer Hawes an unrestricted free agent, and 32-year-old Anderson Varejao unable to stay healthy, a healthy Embiid gives the Cavaliers a younger—and more physical—presence at the rim that they sorely lacked as there were among the worst in the NBA in points allowed in the paint.
Stats aside, it’s no secret that Cleveland had issues getting offensive and defensive rebounds and stopping opposing big men from having free rein down low, Embiid cures all of those ailments, thanks to his seven-foot, 250-pound frame and his knack for shot blocking.
At Kansas, Embiid averaged 11.2 points, 8.1 rebounds and 2.6 blocks in 28 games. is that enough to warrant the Cavaliers pulling the trigger on a player who missed the last six games of his collegiate career due to injury?
Is drafting a player such as Embiid worth the risk for a franchise that is desperate to potentially lure LeBron back?
There is no question that the Cavaliers need a big man such as Embiid as they passed on Andre Drummond and Jonas Valanciunas, and must contend with bigs such as Roy Hibbert, Joakim Noah, Brook Lopez, Nene and Tyson Chandler.