In a new 2014 NBA mock Draft, Sporting News analyst Sean Deveney selects Kansas freshman Joel Embiid and 20-year-old Croatian Dario Šarić on the Orlando Magic's behalf. Entering the Draft Lottery, Orlando owns the league's third-best odds of winning the top pick, as well as the Denver Nuggets' selection, currently projected as 12th overall.
Embiid, a seven-foot center, averaged 11.2 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 2.6 blocks on 62.6 percent shooting in 28 appearances as a freshman. A back injury held him out of the Big 12 and NCAA Tournaments as the second-seeded Jayhawks fell to Stanford in the third round of the latter. "Concern about his back is the only thing that could ding the stock of Embiid, who had an outstanding season before the injury popped up," says Deveney, who notes that many teams will eagerly await the results of Embiid's medical tests at the Draft Combine.
In picking Embiid, the Magic pass on the likes of Australian combo guard Dante Exum, Kentucky forward Julius Randle, and Indiana big man Noah Vonleh, among others.
With the WoNK, Deveney picks Šarić for Orlando while acknowledging that the point forward is a bit of "a wildcard off the court." At present, Šarić leads KK Cibona in per-game scoring (16.3) and in rebounding (9.5) while also posting three assists. A report in March indicated that he likely will not declare for the 2014 Draft.