Pundits and fans have hyped the 2014 NBA draft for months.
It’s even sparked a narrative that the concept of “tanking” needs to be addressed moving forward. But despite promising prospects like Jabari Parker, Andrew Wiggins, Joel Embiid, Julius Randle and Marcus Smart expected to be on the board, one league scout believes there’s only one guy who stands out as a potential franchise-changer.
As Yahoo Sports’ Marc J. Spears reports via Twitter, an anonymous league scout thinks that Embiid, the Kansas Jayhawks’ injured big man, is the only “potential franchise player” in the entire draft.
The seven-foot freshman has displayed flashes of brilliance on both ends of the court this season. He’s averaging 11.2 points, 8.1 rebounds and 2.6 blocks while shooting 62.6 percent from the field.
Although he’s had a promising campaign and skyrocketed his draft stock, Embiid has missed the Jayhawks’ past four games due to a stress fracture in his back. The injury isn’t expected to be serious, though, as head coach Bill Self said, “Everyone is 100 percent confident that Joel will heal and be back to normal soon, but the most important thing is that he gets well,” relayed by USA Today’s Daniel Uthman.
Still, classifying Embiid as the only franchise guy available is peculiar.
For instance, NBADraft.net labels Duke University’s Jabari Parker as the No. 1 overall pick in its mock draft. Also, CBS Sports’ Gary Parrish and Zach Harper each pegged Embiid’s Kansas teammate, Andrew Wiggins, as the top choice back in January.
After a relatively slow start, Wiggins has scored 41, 30 and 22 points, respectively, in his last three games.
Parker, meanwhile, is averaging 19.3 points and 8.8 rebounds per game overall. He’s scored 20 points or more in 18 of 34 contests.
While the 2013 NBA draft didn’t play host to a consensus No. 1 overall pick due to a lack of talent, the 2014 first overall selection remains up in the air because there are so many talented guys at the top.
NBA busts pop up every year, but I’m willing to bet that Embiid isn’t the only franchise guy available.