An ill-timed foot injury for Joel Embiid has opened the door for Andrew Wiggins to become the No. 1 pick in the 2014 NBA draft.
So says oddsmaking service Bovada, which has installed Wiggins as a 1/2 favorite to go No. 1 on Thursday. Jabari Parker is listed at 7/5, while Embiid is listed at 12/1 after undergoing foot surgery that will sideline him for months.
Upon declaring for the draft back in March, Wiggins said that it was his "dream" to be the first player taken. "[Being the No. 1 pick has] always been a big dream of mine," the Kansas guard/forward said. "That's just the competitive side. You want to be chosen first. You want people to label you the best player."
Cleveland has been linked to interest in all three top prospects in recent weeks. Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix had the Cavaliers drafting Embiid prior to his injury, with Wiggins going second. Last year, the Cavaliers shocked the NBA world by selecting Anthony Bennett with the No. 1 pick, opting for the UNLV forward over the likes of Kentucky center Nerlens Noel, Kansas guard Ben McLemore, Maryland center Alex Len and Indiana guard Victor Oladipo.
Wiggins, 19, averaged 17.1 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 32.8 minutes per game this season, earning Big 12 Freshman of the Year and second-team All-American honors. Parker, 19, averaged 19.1 points and 8.7 rebounds in 30.7 minutes per game for the Duke Blue Devils as a freshman, earning First Team All-American, All-ACC and ACC Freshman of the Year honors.
Embiid, 20, averaged 11.2 points, 8.1 rebounds and 2.6 blocks in 23.1 minutes for the Kansas Jayhawks as a freshman. He was shut down in early March due to a stress fracture in his lower back.