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updated: 6/25/2014 11:25 PM

Embiid's injury throws wrench into the NBA draft

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  • These are possible picks for the NBA Draft, June Looking back more than a year, this NBA draft was supposed to be special.It might be, but the projected No. 1 pick, Kansas center Joel Embiid, threw a wrench into the selection process by suffering a stress fracture in his foot, roughly four months after having his college career cut short by a stress fracture in his back., 2014 in New York. Top row from left are Jordan Adams, UCLA; Kyle Anderson, UCLA; Semaj Christon, Xavier; Jordan Clarkson, Missouri; Clint Capela, Chalon (France) and Cleanthony Early, Wichita State. Bottom from left are Joel Embiid, Kansas; Tyler Ennis, Syracuse; Dante Exum, Australia; Aaron Gordon, Arizona, Jerami Grant, Syracuse and P.J. Hairston, Texas Legends.

      These are possible picks for the NBA Draft, June Looking back more than a year, this NBA draft was supposed to be special.It might be, but the projected No. 1 pick, Kansas center Joel Embiid, threw a wrench into the selection process by suffering a stress fracture in his foot, roughly four months after having his college career cut short by a stress fracture in his back., 2014 in New York. Top row from left are Jordan Adams, UCLA; Kyle Anderson, UCLA; Semaj Christon, Xavier; Jordan Clarkson, Missouri; Clint Capela, Chalon (France) and Cleanthony Early, Wichita State. Bottom from left are Joel Embiid, Kansas; Tyler Ennis, Syracuse; Dante Exum, Australia; Aaron Gordon, Arizona, Jerami Grant, Syracuse and P.J. Hairston, Texas Legends.
    Associated press

 
 

Looking back more than a year, this NBA draft was supposed to be special.

It might be, but the projected No. 1 pick, Kansas center Joel Embiid, threw a wrench into the selection process by suffering a stress fracture in his foot, roughly four months after having his college career cut short by a stress fracture in his back.

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No one seems certain whether Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker or Australian guard Dante Exum have the most star potential. Cleveland was said to be undecided about what to do with the top pick and reportedly tried to fly in Exum for a last-minute workout.

As far as the Bulls are concerned, just about anything can happen. They could trade up, trade away their picks, choose someone who won't join the team right away or do the best they can at Nos. 16 and 19.

The biggest mystery on the eve of Thursday's draft is which team is willing to take a risk with Embiid. Two stress fractures are a significant red flag, especially for a player who refused to take a physical exam at the predraft camp. Most teams are probably in the dark about his health, and no one wants to spend a top five pick on a guy who can't stay on the court.

The feeling here is Embiid won't go in the top five, but has a chance to go to Boston at No. 6 or the Lakers at No. 7. There's really no way of knowing how each team will assess the risk.

Cleveland is reportedly getting offers for the top pick. Utah is said to be dangling Derrick Favors, Alec Burks and No. 5, while Orlando has No. 4, No. 12 and shooting guard Arron Afflalo on the table. The Cavs can afford to wait and see if the offers improve closer to draft time.

If the planets align and LeBron James decides to return to Cleveland as a free agent, the Cavaliers might end up trading the pick for Minnesota's Kevin Love, but that's an issue for July.

If they keep the top pick, the Cavs might prefer Chicago native Jabari Parker, but he told reporters Wednesday he's expecting to go to Milwaukee with the No. 2 pick. Parker is often seen as more NBA ready, while Wiggins might have more upside.

Exum will likely go No. 3 to Philadelphia. After that, get ready for the Embiid watch. There could be some big surprises among the top 10 picks.

The Bulls have been trying to package their picks to move up in the draft. Denver at No. 11 is probably the highest they could expect to go, but the Bulls have probably spoken to Orlando at No. 12 and Minnesota at No. 13.

A scoring guard is the Bulls' greatest need. Michigan sharpshooter Nik Stauskas is expected to be gone by the 10th pick, but the Bulls might move up for UCLA's Zach LaVine, an athletic marvel; or Michigan State's Gary Harris, a strong defender.

If the Bulls keep their two picks, don't be surprised if they use at least one on a foreign player who will stay in Europe for a year or two. That way, the Bulls can retain the rights to that player and the salary won't count on their payroll.

Obviously, the Bulls' plan this summer is to make a run at high-scoring New York forward Carmelo Anthony, or maybe James.

One European player to watch is 6-10 Dario Saric, a multiskilled forward who tore up the Adriatic League as a teenager. Some mock drafts had him going as high as No. 10 or 11, but he reportedly signed a deal with Turkish club Anadolu Efes, which will keep him out of the NBA for two years.

Saric figures to drop in the draft and he'd be a convenient fit for the Bulls if he's available at No. 16. Some other foreign players to watch are 6-11 center Jusuf Nurkic, 6-11 Clint Capela, 7-3 Walter Tavares, 6-8 forward Damien Inglis or shooting guard Bogdan Bogdanovic.

Among college players, the middle of the draft seems to be stocked with forwards. Kentucky's James Young, Duke's Rodney Hood, North Carolina State's T.J. Warren and Michigan's Glenn Robinson III are guys who could fill a wing spot.

The Bulls might also consider a point guard to back up Derrick Rose. Connecticut's Shabazz Napier, Syracuse's Tyler Ennis or Missouri's Jordan Clarkson are guys who may be available.

In the second round, the Bulls have the No. 49 pick. They'll probably choose someone who can fill a roster spot at a low salary, like Erik Murphy did last season.

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