NBA draft: CBS report says Cavs leaning towards Jabari Parker over Andrew Wiggins

Rich Barnes

Will Jabari Parker be a Cleveland Cavalier next season?

We are less than a week out from the NBA draft, and the whispers and shouts about the Cleveland Cavaliers draft day plans are only going to grow louder as we get closer to NBA commissioner Adam Silver putting the team on the clock on Thursday night.

What will Cleveland do? I'm not sure we will know until the name is read off a card in New York, but Ken Berger of CBS Sports thinks he has an idea:

• With Joel Embiid's foot surgery, and the reported 4-6 month recovery that comes with it, the Cavs are said to be leaning toward Duke's Jabari Parker with the No. 1 pick. Parker is more NBA-ready than Andrew Wiggins, who would go to the Bucks at No. 2. Rival executives believe it would be out of character for Cleveland GM David Griffin to trade the top pick, and believe Bucks GM John Hammond would be hard-pressed to deviate from the other consensus top player in the draft after Embiid's injury shook up the top of the lottery.

So the Cavs are "said to be leaning" in the direction of Jabari Parker. Higher ups in other front offices don't think it's in Griffin's nature to trade the pick. Berger is a good reporter and wouldn't say this if he didn't think his source or sources had a good idea about what they were talking about.

That being said, we've seen conflicting reports about what happens in the Cavaliers front office over the years. Most of the time, no one really has any idea. At this point, especially with Joel Embiid's injury, this just isn't an Anthony Davis type draft where one prospect is clearly ahead of the other. A lot of people are enamored with Andrew Wiggins' potential, as well they should be. I'm pretty sure that's who I want them to take.

But Parker projects to be a guy who can play a bit of small forward. His measurements aren't far off from Blake Griffin's. He could be a stretch four for this team, and allow Tristan Thompson to come off the bench in a third big man role. David Blatt ran a lot of four out, one in last year in Maccabi to allow for spacing and shooting and driving. Parker would help with that right off the bat.

My point: Even if Wiggins is the right pick, it doesn't necessarily make Jabari Parker a bad one. I have no idea what they are going to do Thursday night. It's unlikely I'll be upset when I find out.

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