Feb 22, 2014; Lawrence, KS, USA; Kansas Jayhawks center Joel Embiid (21) and guard Andrew Wiggins (22) speak with media after the game against the Texas Longhorns at Allen Fieldhouse. Kansas won 85-54. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

2014 NBA Mock Draft: Who should the Cleveland Cavaliers take at #1?

Previously, we’ve done mock drafts highlights who bloggers, writers, and experts expect the Los Angeles Clippers to select in the 2014 NBA Draft, but now we’re expanding to highlight to NBA lottery. Of course we’ll begin with the Cleveland Cavaliers who hold the number one pick for the third time in four years.

In each NBA Mock Draft, the sentiment is quite the same: it’s gonna be hard for the Cavs to pass up on Joel Embiid, especially if health is permitting. Selecting between Parker, Wiggins, and Embiid gives the Cavaliers a fruitful crop of options–far unlike the 2013 NBA Draft–either pick not exactly being the wrong one, but if college showed us anything, Embiid is the king of the most hyped draft since Lebron James arrived on the scene.

Here is the collection of the latest mock drafts from around the NBA pertaining to the Cavaliers and the number one overall pick:

NBA Draft Net – C Joel Embiid (Kansas)

My NBA Draft – C Joel Embiid (Kansas)

Basketball Insiders (Steven Kyler) – C Joel Embiid (Kansas)

Draft Express (Jonathan Givony) – C Joel Embiid (Kansas)

With Embiid finally submitting himself for his first NBA team medical examination in Cleveland, his long-term health situation should become much more clear. Provided there are no red flags with his back, Embiid would be extremely difficult to pass up at #1, as his combination of size, length, mobility, skill, rim-protection and potential are simply unprecedented in this draft class.

Bright Side of the Sun – C Joel Embiid (Kansas)

The Cavs have a $9.8 million team option for a 32-year-old Anderson Varejao next year who struggles to play more than 70 games in a season. If this were the selection, the Cavs would start Embiid/Thompson/Bennett/Waiters/Irving with Jack/Zeller/Sergey off the bench AND have $36 million in expiring contracts (if Varejao goes). Yes. That’s right. Thirty. Six. Million. Not bad for a team selecting first overall. If Embiid is the pick and the Cavs make the playoffs, you-know-who will start to pay some attention… Anyway, Embiid is healthy and is the most unique prospect in the draft given his skill set and position. The fit helps this decision.

Yahoo! Sports (Marc J. Spears) – C Joel Embiid (Kansas)

Assuming there are no serious back issues, one NBA scout says Embiid has chance to be a franchise superstar.

Bleacher Report (Donald Wood) – C Joel Embiid (Kansas)

According to Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com, the Cleveland Cavaliers are leaning toward selecting Kansas center Joel Embiid with the No. 1 overall selection. There has been a concern about Embiid’s back injury, but Cleveland is obviously very interested in the athletic big man.

CSN Washington (Ben Standig) – C Joel Embiid (Kansas)

Unreal, the Cavs win the lottery two seasons in a row and for the third time in four years. They have some pieces, notably Kyrie Irving. Based on the background, skill set and natural instincts, comparisons to Hakeem Olajuwon are not that crazy. How jacked is Embiid’s back is the question.

CBS Sports (Matt Moore) – C Joel Embiid (Kansas)

As long as the physical this week checks out, there’s no reason not to take him if they don’t trade this. It opens up trade opportunities to improve elsewhere, gives them the best overall prospect, and a franchise center.

CBS Sports (Gary Parrish) – F Andrew Wiggins (Kansas)

Wiggins regularly was criticized for all sorts of weird reasons during his one college season and still averaged 17.1 points and 5.9 rebounds for the Big 12 champs. The 6-foot-8 wing’s upside remains as high as ever. He should, alongside Kyrie Irving, re-energize Cleveland’s franchise that will undoubtedly try to someday use this young and talented core to lure LeBron James back home.

CBS Sports (Zach Harper) – C Joel Embiid (Kansas)

The concerns about Joel Embiid’s back will be the mystery leading up to the draft, but if you believe in your medical staff and training personnel, it’s hard to pass up on his upside. Considering the Cavs gave Andrew Bynum $12 million, I’d say they’re confident in their medical and training staffs. He’s too good for them to pass up.

ESPN Insiders (Jeff Goodman) – C Joel Embiid (Kansas)

Cavs GM David Griffin has a difficult decision to make between the 7-foot Embiid and a pair of contrasting forwards: Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker. Multiple sources insist that the Cavs favor Embiid as long as the medical info regarding the back injury that kept him off the court in March checks out clean.

ESPN Insiders (Chad Ford) – C Joel Embiid (Kansas)

Wiggins, Parker and Embiid all are in the mix here. On lottery night, a Cavs source told me that they had Parker ranked highest on their board all year because of his ability to come in and make an immediate impact and believe Embiid has the most upside of anyone in the draft and fits a long-term need for them. However, the source felt that Wiggins in the end would be the compromise pick — someone who has both elite upside as well as a player who can play (especially defensively) impactful minutes right out of the gate.

That said, if Embiid is cleared by the Cavs’ doctors, and if general manager David Griffin can convince owner Dan Gilbert to be patient and wait on Embiid, I think he gets the nod here. The first question will begin to be answered on Tuesday. Embiid has finally arrived in Cleveland for a physical and workout. While Embiid certainly looked healthy enough during a workout in Santa Monica, Calif., a few weeks ago, until the Cavs’ doctors green light him, we just don’t know. And Gilbert is anxious for the Cavs to be a playoff team. Drafting the guy who’s likely to have the least impact next season is going to be a tough sell. At the end of the day I think the Cavs would prefer to trade the pick, but unless they are getting someone like Kevin Love or LaMarcus Aldridge in return, I don’t think they pull the trigger.

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Tags: Andrew Wiggins Jabari Parker Joel Embiid Los Angeles Clippers NBA NBA Draft 2014: NBA Mock Draft

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