Mar 1, 2014; Stillwater, OK, USA; Kansas Jayhawks center Joel Embiid (21) is defended by Oklahoma State Cowboys forward/center Kamari Murphy (21) and guard Markel Brown (22) during the first half at Gallagher-Iba Arena. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Lakers Draft News: Joel Embiid will enter the 2014 NBA Draft

Joel Embiid, Kansas center and potential top-5 pick, officially declared he will enter the 2014 NBA Draft. Here’s what he had to say via the Topika Capital-Journal:

“Looking at different scenarios and gathering info of what was best for me … either way was best for me,” Embiid said. “Talking to my mentor, it was best the choice.”

“I really love this place. The fans are crazy. Just watching them three days before every game camping out,” Embiid said. “For me, it means a lot. They showed me nothing but love.”

The 7-footer’s KU career lasted just 647 minutes —

Embiid averaged 11.2 points, 8.1 rebounds and 2.6 blocks, but only lasted 28 games. He earned Big 12 defensive player of the year honors and was also was a USBWA freshman All-America selection and an Associated Press honorable mention All-America pick.

Embiid toyed with the idea of staying at Kansas for another year, but ultimately decided against it. Embiid was close to a consensus number-1 pick when hew as playing, but a stress fracture in his lower back is worrisome, given the rapid degradation of so many other big men.

As Kurt Helin noted on PBT:

It could be nothing — Andre Drummond had a stress fracture in his lower back that healed and shows no signs of impacting him now — but it could be something. NBA teams are cautious that way after having watched other highly drafted big men have their bodies betray them.

We will likely end up around the 5-9 spot if we don’t make a move up the tank rank. If injury concerns force Embiid down the draft like the did for Nerlens Noel, should we pick him up?

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