SB Nation | Joel Embiid out 4-6 months
Ricky O'Donnell writes that Joel Embiid underwent successful surgery to insert two screws into his injured right foot on Friday, a day after news of a stress fracture in the foot rocked the top of the draft.
The optimistic end of the timetable given by Yahoo! could put Embiid back before the beginning of the season. If it takes him six months to recover, he could debut around Christmas. However, it wouldn't be a surprise if the team who drafts Embiid plans to be deliberate with his recovery. A 4-6 month timetable doesn't mean he'll actually play in the NBA next season. The severity of this injury, combined with the stress fracture Embiid suffered in his back in February at Kansas, is likely to make whatever team he goes to very cautious with his long-term health.
Check out Eric's story on what the injury may mean for Embiid's long-term durability, which remains a much bigger concern than his short-term availability. Also interesting: in our poll from Thursday, the highest percentage of voters (20%) felt Embiid was still worth risking at the #4 slot, though there was a huge range of risk tolerance among readers--5% said they wouldn't take Embiid in the top 14! For what it's worth I voted #4, though I get why this is such a divisive topic.
As for Embiid, you have to feel bad for the kid. Not only will he be out for months and perhaps the entirety of his first year, but there's a decent chance that he falls victim to the same sort of chronic injuries that plagued a number of high-profile centers in the past. Still, he was seemingly keeping his spirits up even as he prepped to go under the knife yesterday:
JS | Bucks get final look at Andrew Wiggins
With less than a week to go before the draft on Thursday, the Bucks closed out an eventful week of top prospect workouts by hosting Andrew Wiggins at the Cousins Center on Friday. To recap: Milwaukee's whirlwind scouting tour featured workouts by Jabari Parker and Wiggins last week in California before returning home to host Dante Exum on Saturday and Parker on Tuesday. There's been a blackout on media coverage of the top prospects' visits to Milwaukee, Cleveland and Philly, but Charles Gardner reports that Billy McKinney did talk to the media after an afternoon workout that featured Michigan big man Mitch McGary:
"It's going to be a fun six days but also agonizing," McKinney said.
"I think there are going to be some changes and the discussion of where he (Embiid) might fall in the draft or if he falls in the draft. Our pick is very valuable, and we knew that when we were able to secure it on the draft lottery day.
"Even now with the events of yesterday (Thursday), I'm sure we're going to get a lot of calls."
ESPN | Ford: Jabari Parker weighs in at...254 pounds?
Murmurs of Jabari Parker's weight gain began circulating around the time of the draft lottery, though he seemed to put them to rest during an impressive workout in front of NBA officials a week later. And yet Chad Ford reports that Parker's weight is in fact around 15-20 pounds more than the 235-241 pounds he was commonly listed at last season, reportedly tipping the scales at 254 pounds with 11% body fat during his Bucks visit. While Wiggins was in Milwaukee, Parker was in Cleveland on Friday:
He's not going to be as impressive athletically as Wiggins, but he's more skilled and more ready to play right now. Parker was atop Chris Grant's board all year before he was let go, and there is still a strong faction in the organization that is behind Parker. But there are issues with his game. Parker is a terrific offensive player, but the team really needs someone who can start ramping up the defense. That's Parker's biggest weakness.
He's also still a bit heavy (he weighed 254 pounds with 11 percent body fat in the Bucks' workout). The team has also been working on slimming down Anthony Bennett to get him minutes at the small forward position. He's another offense-first type player. Are they giving up on him? And while Parker is a safe pick, can he really push them over the top into the playoffs?
Normally this kind of weight gain would be a cause for concern, though watching video of Parker effortlessly throwing down 360s does throw a different wrinkle at it (see below). Maybe Parker has been carrying this weight for some time, and maybe he's added at least some muscle rather than just stuffing his face with Twinkies and Junior Mints.
The biggest implication would be on position: if Parker can reasonably carry something in the neighborhood of 250 pounds without losing much quickness or stamina, the notion of him playing power forward seems increasingly reasonable. Of course, the quickness and stamina question is an important one, because 11% body fat would imply he certainly has room to get leaner and trimmer. That figure would have placed him on the high end of players at the Chicago Draft Combine, and mentions of Parker getting winded during workouts is an obvious sign that there's work to be done.
Interesting sidenote: our friend Troy Sampson mentioned to me on Twitter that Parker's measurements (6'9" in shoes, 6'11.75" wingspan, 8'11" standing reach, 254 lbs, 11% body fat) are surprisingly close to Kevin Love's in 2008 (6'9.5" in shoes, 6'11.25" wingspan, 8'10" standing reach, 12.9% body fat). They're obviously different types of players, but Love's weight loss (he was down to 240 last year) has been credited with helping him reach the superstar potential many didn't think he had coming out of UCLA. Could Jabari get the same benefit? Something tells me that he'll be better off in the long run at 235-240 than 250+, but he'll have to work for it.
Save Our Bucks: Draft Angst is Over
Good piece here from the Save Our Bucks crew on why the Embiid injury should actually make life a bit less stressful over the next week.
For Bucks Fans who were worried about the team making the wrong choice, that fan angst over the draft should now dissipate. It is out of your control (although it never was in our control to begin with.) Spend the next week watching YouTube mix tapes of Jabari and Wiggins, while enjoying it all, knowing the Bucks will get one of those two and you won't have to fret over whether they made the right decision. Then further enjoy Summer League starting July 11th in Las Vegas. If Wiggins is drafted by Cleveland and explodes for a 37-point outing, know that the Bucks never had a chance at him. Ditto for Jabari if Cleveland were to select him #1 overall.
The x-factor in all of this would seem to be Exum, though it would take a lot of guts for the Bucks to pass on one of the big two to roll the dice on the dynamic but lesser-known Australian. And for what it's worth, neither Jeff Goodman nor any of the other latest mocks seem to see the Bucks overthinking things:
I don't think Milwaukee winds up taking him over Parker or Wiggins, but told by sources that the Bucks really intrigued with Dante Exum.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) June 20, 2014
Bucksketball | Carlos Delfino playing basketball (?!?) and the latest on Larry
K L Chouinard has a good take on Gery Woelfel's report that Larry Sanders in some sort of rehab program this summer. I'm exhausted from talking about Larry, so just go read this instead.