According to Yahoo's Adrian Wojnarowski, two of the top NBA draft prospects, Joel Embiid and Jabari Parker, will not be attending the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago this week:
Joel Embiid and Jabari Parker -- two possible No. 1 overall picks -- will not attend the Chicago draft combine, sources tell Yahoo Sports.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) May 11, 2014
Is this a big deal?
While the NBA Draft Combine is currently mostly just for physicals, drills, measurements, and interviews, as opposed to the 5-on-5 scrimmaging of days past, it's not surprising that top prospects sit out the drills. However, especially in the case of Embiid who suffered a season-ending back injury, not partaking in the physicals could raise a red flag in some people's minds.
Woj elaborates on what this means for Embiid and Parker:
If Embiid and Parker don't go to Chicago and take physicals to be distributed to teams, they can later selectively choose teams with which to take physicals once the draft lottery order is set – or hire doctors to conduct physicals and distribute them to teams. Embiid and Parker are both represented by Arn Tellem and B.J. Armstrong of Wasserman Media Group.
"They may have to do multiple physicals now," one NBA general manager told Yahoo Sports. "It's more of a concern about Embiid than Parker, given [Embiid's] back issues."
Embiid, a 7-footer from Kansas, is still recovering from season-ending back surgery, and high-lottery teams will be anxious to have him examined by their own physicians. Embiid suffered a stress fracture in his lower back, but expectations have been that he's on his way to a full recovery.
Embiid hasn't been cleared for full-contact workouts, but has been on the court shooting in recent weeks, sources said. Ultimately, Tellem and Armstrong can simply be waiting for Embiid's back to further heal before exposing him to physicals. With Embiid a potential No. 1 overall pick, Tellem could simply allow the team with the overall top choice to examine him later – or perhaps let the Nos. 1 and 2 teams do it.
Parker, a 6-foot-8 forward, suffered a fractured foot in the summer of 2012, but his senior year of high school and All-American season at Duke have more than eased teams' concerns about his long-term fitness. Parker will be willing to take physicals for the top teams in the lottery later, a source briefed on his plans told Yahoo Sports.
Apart from getting information on the players' health, Boston Celtics GM Danny Ainge weighed in on his feelings about the NBA Draft Combine, and admitted that it isn't as helpful as it used to be in terms of evaluating the players' potential. But he is able to learn a bit about their work ethic from those who show up.
From Real GM:
Danny Ainge does not believe the combine is as useful to executives and coaches as it was in past years. “It’s just not as informative as it used to be,” Ainge said. “You’re not going to see people playing 5-on-5 anymore. A lot of players aren’t going to work out at this, the way it goes right now.”
Ainge added he also has not learned much from the interviews with prospects.
“Every year is a little different,” he said. “It almost seems like it’s become a status thing with the way it is right now. It’s like some players are saying, ‘I don’t have to work out there, so I won’t.’
“So you’re probably not going to be able to tell much more about the top players in Chicago, unless they show up completely out of shape. But I like the kids who show up and do the work. I just like the kids who have a love for the game and show up with a desire to show that to people.
“We’re dealing with a lot of young kids here, so there’s the potential to learn something new every time. In Chicago you don’t learn all that much, other than what they’ve been doing in their conditioning programs since the season ended.”
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Photo: Greg Nelson/SI
Update 9:40 PM
Andrew Wiggins has informed the NBA that he has withdrawn from the draft combine in Chicago this week, league source tells Yahoo.Danielle Hobeika 5/11/2014 08:43:00 PM Tweet
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) May 12, 2014