You wanted the draft's top prospects to visit Milwaukee? YOU GOT IT.
Sources: Andrew Wiggins working out today in Santa Barbara for Bucks. Will workout in Philly on Mon, Cleveland on Wed, Milwaukee on Friday— Chad Ford (@chadfordinsider) June 13, 2014
Sources indicate Exum workout went well. Bucks doing careful homework on top 4 prospects in advance of June 26 draft. Bucks with No. 2 pick.— cfgardner (@cf_gardner) June 15, 2014
League sources indicate Jabari Parker, Joel Embiid and Andrew Wiggins all will be in Milwaukee for #Bucks workouts this week.— cfgardner (@cf_gardner) June 15, 2014
All of this is of course decidedly great--if not unexpected--news, especially concerning Embiid. While Exum, Wiggins and Parker were all likely to be seen by the Bucks one way or another, Embiid's availability had been less certain, and his injury concerns also made it all the more important to see him up close. Agent Arn Tellem had reportedly been hoping to secure a promise during Embiid's visit with the Cavaliers last week, but so far there seems to be ample debate over whether Embiid's physical in Cleveland showed no issues or lots of them.
At a minimum we can surmise that Embiid's willingness to work out in Milwaukee means his camp is unsure of the Cavs' intentions, though it also never made sense for the Cavaliers to tip their hand even if they did intend to take Embiid first overall. So Embiid's back could be a problem, or the Cavs could be trying to engineer further incentive for the Sixers--who have long been rumored to want Andrew Wiggins--to trade up from the number three spot. Or maybe neither. Thankfully, it appears the Bucks will get a chance to make up their own minds about Embiid's long-term health later this week.
As previously reported, the Bucks flew to California to see Wiggins on Friday, then returned to Milwaukee for Dante Exum's workout at the Cousins Center on Saturday. Not that anyone is saying much about it--aside from Charles Gardner's tweet above, there's been nary a word the past couple days about either workout, as Exum left without talking to the media and the Bucks haven't acknowledged either the Exum or Wiggins workouts on their website. You'd think the Bucks would want to make Exum in particular a little less of a mystery to fans--you know, just in case they actually surprised everyone by picking him--but maybe not.
As for Wiggins, seeing him twice is certainly better than once. We don't know what Friday's workout in Santa Barbara might have entailed, but a visit to Milwaukee can't be viewed as a bad thing. It also raises the question of whether new owners Marc Lasry and Wes Edens will be in Milwaukee to meet Embiid, Parker and Wiggins. Lasry and Edens made it clear two weeks ago that they would have the final say as to whom the Bucks select at #2, so you'd think they might have a keen interest in meeting the three most likely candidates in person.
UPDATE: Some additional good news from Chad Ford late on Sunday night:
Bucks are the only team to get all 4 top prospects — Embiid, Parker, Wiggins & Dante Exum — to visit & workout.— Chad Ford (@chadfordinsider) June 16, 2014
Source: Jabari worked out & had dinner w/ Bucks GM John Hammond in Santa Monica last week. Visit to Milwaukee is 2nd workout for Bucks.— Chad Ford (@chadfordinsider) June 16, 2014
Hammond also had dinner with Embiid in Santa Monica last week before Wiggins workout. Bucks have been busy.— Chad Ford (@chadfordinsider) June 16, 2014
Full credit to Hammond and the rest of the front office--they did as much due diligence on these guys as anyone during the season, and that appears to be holding true during the run-up to the draft as well. Also, in terms of NBA appeal: does this mean Bradford Beach is the new South Beach? Um, maybe not, but all the pre-lottery "no one wants to play in Milwaukee" stuff seems like ancient history, eh?
More news and notes as we wrap up the weekend:
Sporting News | Deveney: NBA Mock Draft 2014
Sean Deveney pegs Wiggins at number one, followed by Embiid slipping to the Bucks at two.
Many options for the Bucks here. Parker would be a good fit next to center Larry Sanders, but Embiid has immense potential, and a Sanders-Embiid frontcourt would be a defensive nightmare. Beware Dante Exum, though.
Basketball Insiders | Mock draft consensus
Not much consensus here: two Embiid, one Wiggins and one Parker.