As recently as last Thursday afternoon, the Cavaliers draft strategy seemed set. They were poised to draft Joel Embiid, the 7-1 center from the University of Kansas, who many draft analysts considered to be the tip of the consensus top-three, that also included fellow Jayhawk, Andrew Wiggins, and Duke forward Jabari Parker.
The discovery of a stress fracture in Embiid’s right foot — and his subsequent surgery that inserted two screws to stabilize it — sent the Cavs and the entire NBA draft into a weeklong whirl-a-baloo of trade rumors and a dizzying back-and-forth between the remaining two, Wiggins and Parker.
In the end, the Cavs stayed put and went with Wiggins, a 6-8 200 pound SG/SF whose length and elite athleticism immediately helps out the Cavs’ soggy perimeter defense and finally extinguish the tire fire that has been their small forward position since the summer of 2010. Wiggins possesses jaw-dropping athleticism and, until Embiid’s emergence, was considered a lock to be the first player taken in this talent-laden draft. While he is by no means a finished product, he excels in the open court, which should have Cavs fans readying their salivary glands in anticipation of all the above-the-rim finishes off passes from Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters. His shooting is inconsistent, but the form on his shot is good enough to expect his long range accuracy to only get better.