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The NBA Draft is on June 26, and there is still no clear-cut choice for who should be selected with the first overall pick. The draft, which will be held at the Barclays Center, features at least three players who are deserving of being taken by the Cleveland Cavaliers with the first pick.
Joel Embiid, a seven footer from Cameroon who played for Kansas this past season, has impressed scouts with his mid-range shooting and athleticism for his size. His teammate last year at Kansas, Andrew Wiggins, is perhaps the most physically gifted player in the draft. The lanky, small forward has freakish athleticism and can finish above the rim with ease. Bleacher Report's latest mock draft has Wiggins going first overall.
However, I feel Duke's Jabari Parker should be the first player taken with the first pick. The Cavaliers also had the first pick in last year's draft, and selected Anthony Bennett. Bennett is already in the discussion for biggest bust in NBA history after averaging 4.2 points and 3 rebounds per game in his rookie season.
This is part of the reason why the Cavaliers should take Parker. The 6'8 forward is by far the safest pick in the draft. He may not have the same upside as Embiid or Wiggins, but Parker is a polished product. He has already drawn comparisons to Carmelo Anthony for his smooth offensive game, which should transition will from college to the NBA. Orlando Pinstriped Post gives a more in-depth evaluation of Wiggins, Embiid, and Parker, along with Australian point guard Dante Exum.
It is hard to see how Parker would not do well in the NBA. He has the ability to score in a variety of ways, pass, and handle the ball, though his defense needs work.
Embiid missed the NCAA Tournament with back problems, which should be a red flag for general managers. Greg Oden, another seven footer with back issues in college, was drafted with the first overall pick back in 2007. Oden was never able to stay healthy and is now a rarely used reserve for the Miami Heat, while the second overall pick in 2007 was Kevin Durant. Durant, like Parker, was a polished player who could score a lot of ways.
As for Andrew Wiggins, a long lanky athlete is not that hard to find in the NBA. He certainly has the physical gifts to be an elite player, but he needs a lot of work on his offensive skills. It is still hard to know if he will be able to develop into a reliable scorer in the NBA.
Parker looks like the type of player who could average 20 points per game for years. He has a knack for scoring the ball, and had a year of great coaching under Mike Krzyzewski.
After a terrible pick last year, it is in the Cavaliers best interest to take the safe bet this year and select Jabari Parker.