After presumptive number one pick Joel Embiid suffered a stress fracture of his right foot that required surgery, contrasting reports surfaced within 48 hours on the Cleveland Cavaliers’ plan at the top of the draft. First they were ‘leaning toward’ Jabari Parker, then came word that Andrew Wiggins had inched ahead. And finally, sources have confirmed to ESPN what seems painfully obvious: Cleveland remains ‘torn’ on Parker and Wiggins just two days from draft night.
“They are torn,” one source close to the situation told ESPN.com. “They met for three hours, and all they talked about was those two guys.”
Added another industry source: “They haven’t come to a decision yet.”
But that the Cavaliers are still undecided on Parker and Wiggins isn’t revelatory. The means behind their indecision is what interests most about ESPN’s report. Cleveland at first preferred Parker in part due to his ability to make an immediate impact, but left his workout on Friday supremely disappointed.
However, Parker’s workout on Friday in Cleveland was a disappointment, according to multiple sources. Parker weighed in at 254 pounds with 11 percent body fat, more than 10 pounds above his playing weight at Duke. Sources say the workout was so bad that he appeared disinterested at times. One source even went as far as to say that Parker appeared to be “tanking” the workout.
“He was bad,” one source told ESPN.com. “He was huffing and puffing early in the workout.”
The Cavs also have concerns about which position Parker ultimately will play in the NBA. They, along with other teams, think he’ll struggle to guard NBA 3s and ultimately end up playing like a stretch power forward. With Tristan Thompson and Anthony Bennett already on the roster, Parker may not be as good of a fit as it first appeared.
The concerns that the Cavaliers have about Parker’s role aren’t new. NBA teams use a player’s defensive assignment to define his position, and that Parker lacks the lateral quickness to capably guard wings has long been a talking point of his detractors. That Cleveland is fearful of that deficiency and the overlap it would create with Bennett especially, though, could sway things in Wiggins’ favor – especially given the quality of his workout compared to Parker’s.
Meanwhile, the athletic 6-8 Wiggins went to Cleveland on Wednesday and shot the ball extremely well — which is considered one of his primary weaknesses. Wiggins also showed off his elite athletic abilities and generally wowed ownership during the workout…
“You can’t base everything on one one-on-none workout,” a source said. “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.”
It’s just over 48 hours from when Cleveland has to make a decision. Though the Cavaliers are obviously in an enviable position to have its choice of Parker and Wiggins, we’re glad we don’t have to make the call for them. It’s obviously a very, very close one.
Should the Cavs take Wiggins or Parker with the first pick?
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