4. What happened to Joel Embiid?
Injuries suck, and Embiid’s broken foot couldn’t have come at a worse time. He was firming as the top overall pick, but this latest setback simply can’t be ignored – the ghosts of Greg Oden continue to haunt the league. It’s a shame, as Joel is the rare seven-footer who manages to move with grace out on the floor.
His body (disregarding injuries for a second) is ready made for the center position, and his defensive instincts would help any team right away. The Cameroonian has only been playing basketball for three years, and has also already shown a natural flair for footwork. The risk, of course, is that foot. Can it support that large frame through an 82+ game season?
Best case scenario: Hakeem Olajuwon. Worst case: Greg Oden
Who should take him: It’s intriguing, as teams picking 3-5 already have promising young bigs on their roster. Boston could surely grab him if he falls to number six, and would consider the draft a huge success in this scenario.
5. Who’s this Australian kid on all those Footlocker commercials?
That’s Dante Exum, who has been ripping up the Australian school scene for a few years. This alone probably wouldn’t have him so high on draft boards, but he also managed to dominate the Under 19 FIBA World Champs last year, averaging 18 points and 4 assists against world class kids two years his senior. While Exum’s vertical leap wasn’t as impressive as some had expected at the combine, he blitzed the agility tests, and has insane horizontal athleticism for someone his size (6’6). He is still somewhat of an unknown entity, however, and in the “high-risk high-reward” category.
Best case: Uninjured Shaun Livingston Worst case: Injured Shaun Livingston
Who should take him: The Celtics or Lakers should move up to get him. Both could do with a unique, marketable talent, and Exum would provide this in spades. Otherwise, Orlando.
6. Who has the most unique game in the draft?
Exum is up there, but I’m going to have to go with Marcus Smart here. The dude clocked a faster agility time than John Wall, Chris Paul and Westbrook, yet completed 19 reps of the 185 pound bench press. He has great size for point guard at 6’3, with 6’9 wingspan and a 33-inch vertical. Put simply, he is a beast. A shrewd passer and able scorer, it seems he has the tools to fuck around* in the NBA. Yes, his long-range shooting needs work, but he’s definitely being slept on as far as I’m concerned.
Best case: Eric Bledsoe. Worst case: Keyon Dooling
Who should take him: LAKERS!
* Surely, you get what I’m saying here…surely!