By Todd Singer @breakingbadfish on April 10, 2014
With the announcement that Kansas freshman center and potential top pick Joel Embiid is declaring for the NBA Draft, several teams at the top of the lottery have already begun to salivate. Embiid only started playing basketball a few years ago in his native Cameroon, but after transferring to the U.S. for his senior year of high school, he has taken off. With his offensive and defensive capabilities, each of these teams would love to have him.
The Kings are perhaps the least obvious fit on this list because they already possess one of the game's best centers in DeMarcus Cousins. Despite that, Sacramento has finished near the bottom of the league every year Cousins has been a King, so it may be time for the team to go in another direction. Embiid would provide the Kings with a much-needed rim protector and would give them peace of mind in the event they decide to move Cousins.
The Celtics are in full rebuild mode and are likely to finish near the top of the lottery for the first time in a while. While Boston drafted Kelly Olynyk last season, he's doesn't fit the profile of a traditional NBA center like Embiid does and could probably move to PF thanks to his versatility. Embiid would provide the Celtics with perhaps the best center they've had since Robert Parish and would inject some life into this historic franchise.
The Lakers had an uncharacteristically awful season after Dwight Howard left via free agency and Kobe Bryant missed most of the year with a knee injury. As a result, they'll be picking near the top of the lottery for the first time in ages, and this is as good a year as any to do so. Chris Kaman won't return and L.A. doesn't have much size beyond him, so snatching up Embiid would continue the long tradition of great Laker centers.
The 76ers tied a NBA record losing 26 consecutive games this season and will likely finish the season with less than 20 wins. While they possess some good young building blocks in Michael Carter-Williams and Nerlens Noel, the latter is likely too thin to play the five in the NBA. Because of this, Philadelphia would love to see Embiid fall into their laps on draft night as a frontcourt of him and Noel would create a scary shot blocking tandem.
Even with Phiadelphia's record long losing streak, the Bucks have somehow won less games than the Sixers. Despite signing several free agents this offseason, Milwaukee's season has been an unrequited disaster and they'll likely have the top odds of landing the first pick. Unfortunately for the Bucks, the last time the worst team got the top pick was in 2004, but Embiid would be a huge get given Larry Sanders' off the court issues.
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