The Cleveland Cavaliers clearly won the first overall pick in the NBA Draft Lottery in the wrong year. Last year, the Cavs jumped up to the #1 pick and had their choice of any player in a very underwhelming draft class. This year, the pool of draft eligible players is much better and getting that #1 pick would be a lot more valuable. However, it's far less likely that the Cavs win the draft lottery again this year. Cleveland finished with the 9th worst record in the league this year and therefore will have just a 1.7% chance at getting the first overall pick.
But who should they take if Nick Gilbert is able to work his magic one more time? Let's look at the options.
Andrew Wiggins, SF
Before the college basketball season even started, Andrew Wiggins was crowned as the guy who would end up being the first overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. That's certainly possible, but he's far from a no-brainer pick. There were times during the season when he looked awfully passive and quite raw offensively. That said, his upside is tremendous. He's an absolute freak athlete, has a nice looking jump shot (although it's real inconsistent at this point, and he's young enough that he has tons of room to grow as a basketball player.
How does he fit with the Cavs? Pretty well, it would seem. It's a little hard to know what the Cavs are looking to do in the draft because we don't know what their plans for free agency are, but if they don't expect to re-sign Luol Deng, they'll need a wing. And Wiggins would be a tremendous addition there. He'll have NBA three-point range eventually and projects to be a great defender. Furthermore, he'd give the Cavs another dynamic threat in the open court. Some of his weaknesses would be covered up by the fact that Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters are still on this team. His ball-handling isn't particularly good and he's not a guy that can create his own shot off the dribble just yet. But if he's on the court with Irving and Waiters, he won't have to create for himself all that much. Any team would be thrilled to add Wiggins to their roster, but there are some other options too.
Jabari Parker, PF
As the draft gets closer, I'm going to continue to beat the drum that Jabari Parker is a power forward. From what I've seen of him, he's not a small forward in the NBA. His lacks the lateral quickness to guard small forwards at this level and he's much better suited as a stretch-4. I'm more down on Parker than most people are simply because I don't think he has much defensive upside at all. He's big and strong, but he's not super bouncy. He also doesn't show much desire to play defense and doesn't display very good instincts on that end of the floor. His slow feet are something that I think will hold him back defensively for most of his career.
All of that said, it's hard to deny is ability on the other end of the court. He's an extremely polished scorer and will likely put up big offensive numbers right away in the NBA. Like most prospects, it will take some time for him to consistently hit from NBA three-point range, but that shouldn't matter. His jump shot is certainly good enough to make defenders pay for leaving him open, even though I think he'll do a lot of his damage near the rim because of his size and strength.
How does he fit with the Cavs? This is interesting because the Cavs have two young power forwards on the roster already. Jabari Parker is awfully similar to what the Cavs thought they'd be getting with Anthony Bennett last season. And there's still a decent chance that Bennett pans out to be a very nice player. The idea of getting an offensively skilled power forward is to make things easier for Kyrie Irving and to give him a pick and roll partner. So far the Cavs haven't been able to provide that and Parker might be the answer. But if you're asking me for my personal opinion, I'd rather go with Wiggins or this next guy if the Cavs have the privilege of selecting first.
Joel Embiid, C
Before Embiid started battling some back issues, it looked like he would be the no-brainer first overall pick. He's a legit 7-footer with soft hands, quick feet, and great touch. What else could you possibly want? You just can't pass on a prospect like Embiid when there are no red flags about his health. Unfortunately, there are red flags about Joel Embiid's health. His missed the latter part of the season for the Kansas Jayhawks with a back injury and it remains to be seen how that will impact him going forward.
How does he fit with the Cavs? In a word, brilliantly. The Cavaliers haven't found a longterm answer at the center position and it's not very often that big man prospects like Embiid come along. Of course he needs to add weight and learn to become more consistent on both ends of the floor, but the raw material is just so enticing. The Cavs would get their low post scorer and a future rim protector in one move. As I said, the questions remain about his health. But if the doctors clear him and they have no longterm worries, I think Embiid has to be the guy.
So there you have it. Those are the three main options if the Cavaliers happen to luck into the first overall pick. Who do you think is the best option if Cleveland has its choice of any prospect in the draft? Vote in the poll and leave your thoughts in the comment section.