The Milwaukee Bucks have pretty blatantly been the worst team in the NBA through the first portion of the 2013-14 regular season. Coming into the All-Star break, the Bucks have by far the worst record in the league, having won just nine of their first 52 games this year. With this lack of success, their sights are pretty obviously set on the 2014 NBA Draft.
Though you can’t predict the draft lottery and how the ping pong balls will be drawn, but the Bucks currently have the best chance at landing the first-overall pick in the 2014 Draft. If that’s how things play out and the Bucks are indeed selecting first when draft night comes, it’ll be Joel Embiid from Kansas that Adam Silver will call to the stage.
In his latest mock draft, ESPN’s Jeff Goodman talked about the Bucks’ situation heading into the draft. Here’s what Goodman had to say on the matter:
Bucks GM John Hammond will choose the player he thinks has the best chance of being a star. Right now it’s a three-man race, but sources indicate Hammond loves the skill, size and rapid progression of Embiid. The Cameroon native is new to the game and has tremendous upside. Embiid can help the Bucks on both ends of the court, and while he recently told ESPN.com he might return to school, most feel that he’ll be in June’s draft.
Embiid has been fantastic in his freshman years with the Jayhawks, showing amazing innate skills on the basketball court on both ends of the floor and on the glass. His stock has risen so much that ESPN’s Chad Ford has even said that he could wind up being the next Hakeem Olajuwon if everything works out perfectly.
Regardless of if he’s the next “Dream,” though, Embiid being selected by the Bucks would be an interesting choice by the organization regarding their future plans. Milwaukee signed center Larry Sanders to a four-year extension this past summer and have a talented young power forward in John Henson still on his rookie deal. Throwing Embiid into the mix would likely mean that the Bucks plan to move on from Sanders and all of the troubles that he’s brought along with him this season.
Things can obviously change between now and the night of the draft. The Bucks could wind up not getting the first-overall pick. The Bucks could have a change of heart and have their opinions of Jabari Parker and Andrew Wiggins become more favorable. As of right now, though, it’s Embiid at the top of their draft board, which speaks to the talent of the young big man and to the feelings within the organization about the players they currently have in tow.