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Joel Embiid Declares For NBA Draft

A potentially loaded draft class just got a little more crowded today as Kansas center Joel Embiid just declared for the 2014 NBA Draft at a news conference Wednesday afternoon in Kansas.

The freshman big man sat alongside Kansas head coach Bill Self to announce his decision. The 20-year-old averaged 11.2 points, 8.1 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game for the Jayhawks and also won the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year Award. His season was sidetracked however by a back injury that forced him to miss six games at the end of the season for Kansas, including both NCAA Tournament games.

The Cameroon native said that the injury had no influence on his decision to declare for the draft this year.

“No, not at all,” Embiid said of whether his back was a factor in his draft decision. “My back is fine. I’m close to being 100 percent.”

Self also tried to silence any concerns about Embiid’s back injury being a potential long-term problem.

“The one thing about his back that some people failed to acknowledge is that his back was a situation that created a great discomfort on the early period after the injury occurred. It would never be something that would require any surgery. It would basically be something he would have to deal with in the short term but should provide actually zero problems moving forward with his basketball career,” Self explained.

Even with potential injury concerns, Embiid has been universally declared as a top-5 prospect in the 2014 NBA Draft and could go as high as number one overall.

The Celtics currently hold the fourth-worst record in the NBA, and have a serious need for a rim-protecting big man like Embiid, as Vitor Faverani is currently the only true center on the Celtics roster. Head coach Brad Stevens spoke about that need for a big man after a loss last month to the Suns.

“I think certainly in an ideal situation what you’re looking for is certain qualities of a team and I think that a rim protector, whether it is a seven-footer or not is extremely important in this league, a guy that really protects the paint, dotted line and in,” Stevens said.

As the NBA draft gets closer in June, Embiid is one prospect all Celtics fans should keep their eye on.

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A potentially loaded draft class just got a little more crowded today as Kansas center Joel Embiid declared for the 2014 NBA Draft at a news conference Wednesday afternoon in Kansas.

The freshman big man sat alongside Kansas head coach Bill Self to announce his decision. The 20-year-old averaged 11.2 points, 8.1 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game for the Jayhawks and also won the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year Award. His season was sidetracked however by a back injury that forced him to miss six games at the end of the season for Kansas, including two NCAA Tournament games.

The Cameroon native said that the injury had no influence on his decision to declare for the draft this year.

“No, not at all,” Embiid said of whether his back was a factor in his draft decision. “My back is fine. I’m close to being 100 percent.”

Self also tried to silence any concerns about Embiid’s back injury being a potential long-term problem.

“The one thing about his back that some people failed to acknowledge is that his back was a situation that created a great discomfort on the early period after the injury occurred. It would never be something that would require any surgery. It would basically be something he would have to deal with in the short term but should provide actually zero problems moving forward with his basketball career,” Self explained.

Even with potential injury concerns, Embiid has been universally declared as a top-5 prospect in the 2014 NBA Draft and could go as high as number one overall.

The Celtics currently hold the fourth-worst record in the NBA, and have a serious need for a rim-protecting big man like Embiid, as Vitor Faverani is the only true center on the Celtics roster. Head coach Brad Stevens spoke about that need for a big man after a loss last month to the Suns.

“I think certainly in an ideal situation what you’re looking for is certain qualities of a team and I think that a rim protector, whether it is a seven-footer or not is extremely important in this league, a guy that really protects the paint, dotted line and in,” Stevens said.

As the NBA draft approaches, Embiid is one prospect that will likely be near the top of Boston's draft board to help fill that void in the middle.