The Orlando Magic have a wealth of options with the fourth overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft but one player they should take off their board is Joel Embiid.
The Kansas star suffered a stress fracture in his right foot that will sideline him for 4-6 months. However, that’s not the only injury concern as he missed both the Big 12 and NCAA tournament because of a back injury.
In lieu of that, Rob Hennigan and the Magic must skip over Embiid if he’s available to Orlando fourth overall in Thursdays draft.
There’s no questioning the talent level of Embiid. In fact, he was widely favoured to be the number one overall pick by the Cleveland Cavaliers.
With his latest injury setback, Embiid is sure to drop. Chad Ford of ESPN opines if the Magic would select him if he fell to Orlando at number four.
“The Magic have wanted a rim protector and could see an opportunity here. They too have another lottery pick and some flexibility to be patient. Nikola Vucevic has been more than solid the past two years, but he doesn’t provide the Magic with the shot-blocking they desperately need. If Embiid makes a full recovery, he’s a steal at No. 4. The problem for the Magic is that they have other needs, too. They need a point guard, and Marcus Smart will be there. They also need a stretch 4, and Vonleh is likely to be on the board. Can they pass on both of them for Embiid? I put the odds of them doing so at 50 percent.”
When Orlando traded Dwight Howard, Hennigan resisted the urge to take Andrew Bynum, in large part because of health issues, despite him being one of the top 3 centers in the NBA. With hindsight, Hennigan looks like a genius because of Bynum’s troubles since the trade.
According to Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel, the Magic are checking in on Embiid to gather as much information as possible about his latest setback.
“As they prepare for the 2014 NBA Draft next week, the Orlando Magic are attempting to obtain as much data as possible about Joel Embiid’s right foot injury so they can make an informed decision if Embiid is available when the team picks fourth overall.”
Hennigan also told the Sentinel, “We’re going to try to gather as much information as we can, and we’re going to continue to do so right up until the draft. We have some information now, and we’re always looking to acquire more information that can help us make a decision.”
The Magic are going to be able to draft a impactful, quality player with the fourth pick and they can still do that by not taking Embiid.
While Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker and Dante Exum might now be favoured to be the top three picks, the Magic can still land a player like Smart, Vonleh, or Julius Randle. They also have the twelfth overall pick too.
Some scouts say that Embiid is the best player in the draft but his injury concerns and the depth of talent in this draft class means Hennigan and the Magic must resist the urge and therefore, take another player when they make their fourth overall pick Thursday night.