Kansas center Joel Embiid is coming off a back injury, and looking to clear up any misconceptions about his health going forward. Duke forward Jabari Parker is competing with the aforementioned Embiid and Andrew Wiggins for the top spot on NBA draft boards. So it would only make sense that all three of them would show off their stuff at the annual NBA Combine in Chicago this week, right? Apparently not.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski, Embiid and Parker will be skipping the combine in its two day entirety.
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
That started a domino effect, with Andrew Wiggins deciding to withdraw late Sunday evening.
Andrew Wiggins has informed the NBA that he has withdrawn from the draft combine in Chicago this week, league source tells Yahoo.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) May 12, 2014
There are a couple ways to look at their decisions, none of which should evoke any real panic. Wiggins was simply following in the lead of his two counterparts.
Both Embiid and Parker are represented by Arn Tellem and B.J. Armstrong of Wasserman Media Group, and it could just be an agency decision not to let their two top clients duke (no pun intended) it out against each other in such a large and public format.
But the most logical thought process here is: how much higher can these two actually go? If you polled general managers around the league, I imagine that a large majority would have Embiid and Parker somewhere between one and three on their big board. Basic counting makes it kind of hard to go any higher than number one. Some may view Embiid's passing of the combine as a mistake, as it gave him a chance to prove to the league that he was back (pun partially intended) at one hundred percent. But in his report, Woj mentioned that he has yet to be cleared for full-contact workouts, so why allow your numbers to possibly dip because you are not fully recovered yet? A draft hopeful, especially a top one, doesn't need teams freaking out because his max vertical leap fell an inch or two. Backs are fickle things, and rushing yourself through recovery so you can go through some basic drills and measurements is pointless.
Embiid is doing himself a favor by taking the extra time off so he can show to teams privately that this will not be a recurring problem.
The same thinking is applied to Parker as well. While injury probably is not the concern here, I imagine his agents know he won't test great when it comes to agility drills and possibly his body fat calculation. By holding him (and Embiid) out, their agents are saving them from what will be unnecessary scrutiny.
Not going to the combine won't hurt them. Showing up and doing poorly might. There's really nothing here to get upset about, and coming from the person who is concerned Michael Carter-Williams' shoulder might fall off, that's saying a lot.