As teams get in their final player workouts leading into the NBA Draft, the Cleveland Cavaliers face a problem every other team wouldn't mind having. The owners of the first overall pick have to choose between Duke Blue Devils forward Jabari Parker and Kansas Jayhawks swingman Andrew Wiggins now that Joel Embiid has become too risky of an option because of his injuries.
ESPN reports, unsurprisingly, that the Parker-Wiggins decision has torn the Cleveland front office. The Cavs were leaning toward selecting Parker before his recent workout led to speculation that he was tanking it. But while such an accusation seems like a stretch, that Parker came in reportedly overweight and struggled certainly makes Cleveland take a step back.
The case for Parker
Widely considered the immediate impact option, Parker would be a scoring threat alongside Kyrie Irving from day one. There's less risk taking the hyper-aggressive Parker than there is selecting Wiggins, who had bouts of fading into the background with Kansas this past season. Luol Deng is likely to leave in free agency, and Parker would have a shot at stepping into the starting lineup and learning on the fly.
Wiggins, of course, could end up being the better player, but teams could worry that his impact on the offensive end could be minimal in terms of where he stands right now. Cavs owner Dan Gilbert wants to win now -- last year would have been more ideal -- and might be putting pressure on first-year general manager David Griffin to go with the safer option.
The case for Wiggins
If the Cavaliers want to select the prospect with the higher ceiling, it's hard to argue against Wiggins. He'll be an immediate help on the defensive end and, like Parker offensively, could fill in for Deng. Unlike Parker, Wiggins' position isn't as much of a question. He can defend the 2 or 3, making him more capable of playing with different groups within Cleveland's rotations. In that regard, Wiggins could play alongside last year's first overall pick, Anthony Bennett, while Parker might limit Bennett's development as a similar combo forward (in terms of position).
Wiggins proved to be a stronger shooter than anticipated during his workout for the Cavaliers, and his offensive limitations might be a lesser concern than they've been made out to be.
So who do the Cavs pick?
It's essentially a toss-up at this point. While the accusation of Parker tanking his workout seems a bit harsh, it's never good when a player's workout swayed the front office's thinking in such a negative direction. Then again, if Parker was really out of shape, wouldn't we have heard about it prior? This could be a smokescreen. What this could come down to is Cleveland deciding if Wiggins is really that much of a risk. After Parker's workout, give Wiggins a more favorable 55-to-45 shot at going first.