The NBA draft is still more than three months away and plenty of things could occur between now and then to alter the selection landscape.
Prospects will be attending the ever so important pre-draft camp in Chicago and then have individual workouts with a slew of teams.
Having written that, if the draft was held today, the No. 1 overall selection would either be Kansas center Joel Embiid or Duke forward Jabari Parker.
At least, that’s the overwhelming sentiments of eight NBA officials who are either general managers, player personnel directors or scouts.
Those NBA officials — four from Eastern Conference teams and four from Western Conference teams — were asked in the last week to rank, in order, their top 10 candidates for the June 26th draft.
The Milwaukee Bucks have the worst record in the NBA and are a cinch to have one of the top picks in the draft.
Embiid received four first-place votes to barely edge Parker, who had three first-place votes. The remaining first-place vote was cast for Kansas small forward Andrew Wiggins.
While Embiid garnered the most first-place votes, he also received a third-place vote from a Western Conference official. Parker, on the other hand, was either the first or second pick among the NBA officials.
Besides his one first-place vote, Wiggins drew four third-place votes and three fourth-place votes. Two voters rated Kentucky power forward Julius Randle and Australian point guard Dante Exum ahead of Wiggins.
Randle received two third-place votes, two fourth-place votes and three fifth-place votes. One voter didn’t rank Randle among his top 10 prospects because he felt Randle wouldn’t physically dominate at the pro level like he does at the collegiate level.
Besides his one third-place vote, Exum had three fourth-place and four fifth-place votes.
While Embiid and Parker represented the top tier in this poll and Wiggins, Randle and Exum represented the second tier, the third tier — the six through 10 choices — was considerably more muddled.
Noah Vonleh, a freshman power forward from Indiana, headed the third-tier group, collecting four sixth-place votes. He wasn’t rated any lower than ninth by those polled.
Oklahoma State combo guard Marcus Smart, who has endured a trying season marred by a suspension, drew three sixth-place votes. However, some NBA officials had a much less favorable opinion of him. Two voters ranked Smart 10th on their draft boards and another didn’t even have Smart on his top 10 list.
One other player received a sixth-place vote and that was Creighton’s explosive-scoring small forward Doug McDermott. McDermott also had two other 10th-place votes.
Syracuse point guard Tyler Ennis collected five top 10 votes and Kentucky shooting guard James Young and Duke small forward Rodney Hood each received four top 10 votes. Croatian forward Dario Saric garnered three top 10 votes.
In all, 17 players received at least one top 10 vote, including Kentucky center Willie Cauley-Stein, whom one scout rated the fifth-best pro prospect, and Chinese center Wang Zhelin, who was considered the ninth-best prospect by another scout.
The 7-foot, 250-pound Zhelin piqued the curiosity of NBA talent evaluators at the 2012 Nike Hoop Summit. That’s when he scored 19 points, grabbed eight rebounds and blocked two shots in leading the World Team to an 84-75 victory over the U.S. Select team.
Zhelin, who is 20, played for the Fujian Sturgeons of the Chinese Basketball Association this season, averaging 22 points and 12 rebounds in 33 games.
Here is how the final voting among the eight NBA officials broke down with first-place votes worth 10 points, second-place worth nine points, third-place worth eight points, etc.:
1) Jabari Parker, Duke, SF, 75 points
Joel Embiid, Kansas, C, 75 points
3) Andrew Wiggins, Kansas, SF, 63
4) Dante Exum, Australia, PG, 49
5) Julius Randle, Kentucky, PF, 48
6) Noah Vonleh, Indiana, PF, 31
7) Marcus Smart, Oklahoma St., G, 22
8) Tyler Ennis, Syracuse, PG, 17
9) James Young, Kentucky, SG, 11
10) Dario Saric, Croatia, F, 10
11) Rodney Hood, Duke, SF, 9
12) Doug McDermott, Creighton, SF, 7
13) Aaron Gordon, Arizona, PF, 6
Willie Cauley-Stein, Kentucky, C, 6
15) Kyle Anderson, UCLA, SF, 3
16) Gary Harris, Michigan St., SG, 2
17) Wang Zhelin, China, C, 2