It was all going to be so simple.
As has seemingly become annual tradition, the Cleveland Cavaliers have the first pick in this year's NBA Draft (just like 2011 and 2013), and by all accounts, up until about a week or so ago, they were set to draft Kansas center Joel Embiid.
From there, it would have all been so formulaic, damn near scripted -- Jabari Parker to Milwaukee, Andrew Wiggins to Philly, Dante Exum to Orlando, and on and on.
But dammit, those freaking navicular bones in the feet of big men.
As part of a physical at a private workout for Cleveland, the Cavaliers' medical staff detected a stress fracture in Embiid's right foot, which in the realm of red flags is the equivalent of plumes of smoke wafting from under the hood of a car before you drive it off the lot.
Bad news, man.
I don't need to tell Houstonians. We all lived through the Yao Ming Era. We know about these broken feet. We know there's no real rehab for them. Sure, they heal, but inevitably they break again.
And again. And again. Arvydas Sabonis, Bill Walton, Brook Lopez, Yao.
All are big men whose careers were slowed or derailed by repeated broken foot issues, big men whose sporadic availability paralyzed the teams they were part of. The Cavaliers can't live with that. They want to win now, they need to win now. (They want LeBron, too, as long as we are talking about wanting that which is highly unlikely.)
So Cleveland will go in a different direction. What that entails, nobody knows. Reportedly, not only do they not even know, but they're reportedly in vehement disagreement internally....
Sources: Cavs owner Dan Gilbert wants Andrew Wiggins at No. 1. Front office wants Jabari Parker. http://t.co/vkpjuqT2z4
— Chad Ford (@chadfordinsider) June 25, 2014
...a report which Dan Gilbert, their owner, denies....
— Dan Gilbert (@cavsdan) June 25, 2014
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
Whatever the case, all of a sudden with Embiid's injury, literally every pick in the first round now has intrigue, from the top on down. So let's do this. Let's live tweet the 2014 NBA Draft (starting at 6 p.m.).
Here we go....