Draft pundits catch up to White House official on Embiid

Draft pundits catch up to White House official on Embiid
January 23, 2014, 7:30 am
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Kansas Jayhawks center Joel Embiid (21) dunks the ball against Oklahoma State Cowboys guard Markel Brown (22) in the second half at Allen Fieldhouse.

(John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports)

After endless preseason hype over incoming freshmen Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker and Julius Randle, the NBA Draft punditry community has a new No. 1 prospect: Kansas center Joel Embiid. In recent days, DraftExpress and ESPN's Chad Ford have put the 7-footer from Cameroon atop their respective draft boards.

All that means is that the experts have caught up to where one college basketball loving senior advisor to President Barack Obama has been for weeks.

Let's back up for a moment. Embiid's teammate Wiggins, Duke's Parker, Kentucky's Randle and others like Arizona's Aaron Gordon and Oklahoma State's Marcus Smart have not let down their supporters. Embiid has simply gained more and more.

The 19-year-old has demonstrated the shot blocking skills one looks for from, well, a 7-footer. However, it's Embiid's athleticism, coordination and surprisingly advanced skill set for a player who is relatively new to basketball that has moved him up the charts. 

Ford's mock draft posted on Wednesday has the Milwaukee Bucks, owners of the NBA's worst record, selecting the mobile Jayhawk, who averages 11.1 points on 68 percent field goal shooting, 7.4 rebounds and 2.8 blocks in 23 minutes per game. 

Dan Pfeiffer, White House official and an Assistant to the President, didn't need the last month of basketball to proclaim Embiid the No. 1 overall pick. 

Back on Dec. 21, Pfeiffer caught Embiid's act on television as Kansas hosted Georgetown, Pfeiffer's alma mater. The big man had 17 points and eight rebounds in the 86-64 win. If upside and wow factor were numeric, they would have made the actual stats seem pedestrian.

Even in defeat, the Georgetown alum appreciated the basketball goods.

The Hoyas play at Creighton on Saturday. That means Pfeiffer gets a look a high-scoring senior forward Doug McDermott, another projected lottery selection. That means assuming he has time to watch - the guy has kind of a busy job - and then tweet out his thoughts, we'll know where the NBA Draft insiders will be on McDermott a month from now.

Update – Pfeiffer’s response to our story on his NBA Draft evaluation prowess