Dante Exum could be the number one pick in next week’s NBA Draft.
The Cleveland Cavaliers, owners of the top selection, have reportedly invited the 18-year-old Australian basketball phenomenon to work out for the team after the player they had targetted, Cameroon-born centre Joel Embiid, suffered a foot injury.
The Cavaliers did not appear to be interested in Exum before news broke on Thursday of Embiid’s injury.
While the Milwaukee Bucks, Philadelphia 76ers and Orlando Magic, holders of the second, third and fourth picks respectively in next Thursday’s draft have all worked out Exum the past fortnight, the Cavaliers didn’t.
If Cleveland does select Exum, the team would have three Australian-born guards with star Kyrie Irving and Victorian Matthew Dellavedova on the squad.
Exum would also be the third Australian picked number one after Andrew Bogut in 2005 and Irving in 2011.
Embiid, 20, is a 213cm tall, 113kg, centre who played just one year with the University of Kansas before declaring for the draft.
Despite his talent and potential to be a force in the NBA, teams have had health concerns about him.
Embiid suffered a stress fracture in his back that forced him to sit out the Big 12 and NCAA tournaments for Kansas and, while it seemed he had recovered from that, the latest injury, possibly a broken foot, could scare off the Cavaliers and other teams.
“He suffered a foot injury to his right foot sometime over the last few days,” Embiid’s agent Arn Tellem told ESPN.
“He’s getting evaluations from various doctors and experts in the field.”
The other potential number one picks are forwards, Andrew Wiggins of Kansas and Duke’s Jabari Parker.