NBA draft: Breaking down the top prospects, both the good and the bad

The case for and against the top prospects

JABARI PARKER

Why he can’t go No. 1: Poor conditioning and average athleticism are major concerns for Parker. He lacks the foot speed and lateral quickness to defend small forwards, leaving him without a sure position. Inability to explode past defenders forces him to settle for low-percentage jumpers.

Why he has to go No. 1: Easily the most skilled offensive player in the draft, Parker is a hybrid of Carmelo Anthony’s strength and scoring ability and Grant Hill’s savvy, intelligence and versatility. The latest Chicago hoops prodigy is a rare talent who possesses a killer instinct while also being an unselfish, team-oriented player.

ANDREW WIGGINS

Why he can’t go No. 1: The best prospect since LeBron James? The best freshman arrival at Kansas since Wilt Chamberlain? Not quite. Granted, the hype surrounding Wiggins was unfair. But on some nights, he wasn’t even the best player on his team and had a tendency to disappear when needed most.

Why he has to go No. 1: As the son a former NBA player and an Olympic medalist in track, Wiggins is an elite athlete with blazing speed and incredible leaping ability. Has potential to be a multiple-time all-star if his confidence and competitive spirit ever start to match his talent. Already a decent defender.

JOEL EMBIID

Why he can’t go No. 1: Who wants a Porsche that you can’t drive out of the lot? Embiid has been playing basketball for less than four years and has already sustained stress fractures to his back and foot, areas that have historically been problematic for big men.

Why he has to go No. 1: As Tim Duncan just showed, generational big men own the rings in the NBA. A talented, athletic 7-footer and a quick learner, Embiid remains raw, providing a malleable piece of clay that can be molded into a star. And hey, Michael Jordan broke the same navicular bone in his second season. How did that turn out?

Michael Lee

Michael Lee is the national basketball writer for The Washington Post.
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