We’re less than a week away from the NBA Draft and there’s still too many questions for even Allen Iverson to answer. All signs pointed to Cleveland taking Joel Embiid at number one, but his right foot has created a major plot twist. Embiid sustained a stress fracture in the navicular bone of his foot this week. This injury is comparable to what Bill Walton and Yao Ming experienced.
Joel Embiid has suffered stress fracture in right foot and slated for surgery on Friday, agent Arn Tellem says.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 19, 2014
Embiid’s freshmen campaign at Kansas was cut short due to back problems, but he quickly silenced critics after looking fantastic in his private workout with Cleveland, which pretty much convinced them they were taking the Cameroon native.
A source familiar with the Cavaliers thinking says the Cavaliers are leaning strongly toward Embiid, who has impressed in private workouts. Embiid’s back has not been an issue, but league sources say teams are still evaluating it to determine the long-term risk. Still, Embiid’s potential as a dominant two-way player appears to be too good for the Cavs to pass up.
Yet, once you compound a previous back injury with a current foot injury, you instantly become a red flag. The burning questions now are how far will Embiid drop and how does his foot change teams approach to the draft?
Although Cleveland was set on taking Embiid, Dan Gilbert’s team is still in a very good position. Cleveland will most likely choose either Andrew Wiggins or Jabari Parker. Either one would form an interesting tandem with all-star point guard Kyrie Irving and whichever prospect Cleveland passes on will probably call Milwaukee home, which leads us to Philadelphia.
Andrew Wiggins and Philadelphia seems like a match made in heaven. The Sixers want Wiggins and Wiggins wants them, but now the marriage appears unlikely, unless Philly is able to pull off a trade with Cleveland or Milwaukee. If everything stays the course, however, Philly is the team most affected by Embiid’s foot. They don’t need a center with Nerlens Noel entering his official rookie season, so what do they do at number three with Wiggins and Parker most likely off the board?
Other than Embiid, Dante Exum would be the best prospect available at three, but Philly has reigning Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams at point guard. Exum could play the two at 6-foot-6, but the Australian has stated he sees himself as a point guard.
Dante Exum says he wants to play point guard. http://t.co/5VBACtVsTs
— Tony Jones (@tribjazz) May 15, 2014
See the damage Embiid’s foot is causing?
Utah and Boston hold picks five and six respectively. I think one of these teams will stop the free fall. Utah may pass since they already have two young promising centers in Enes Kanter and Rudy Gobert.
Boston on the other hand would love to see Embiid fall into their lap. It was reported yesterday that Danny Ainge would consider trading up for the big man. Ainge is willing to do whatever it takes to please Rondo and giving him a 7-foot rim protector would be a great start.
But, maybe, just maybe the basketball Gods will allow Embiid to fall to the Lakers. We all know the history of Laker big men.
Joel Embiid won’t be attending the NBA Draft, but you can watch it with him Thursday night on ESPN.