With their most anticipated selection since 1996, the Philadelphia 76ers drafted 7-foot center Joel Embiid.
We were a bit surprised, though perhaps we shouldn’t have been.
The Sixers reportedly offered the Cavs three picks — Nos. 3, 10 and 32 — for the No. 1 selection and the right to draft Andrew Wiggins. If that was true, the Sixers turned to Plan B. But maybe they wanted Embiid all along.
A broken navicular bone in his foot discovered late in the draft process will sideline the Kansas star for 4-6 months, and possibly the entire 2014-15 season. Despite the broken foot, a previous back injury sustained in early March, and a loaded draft class, most still felt as though Embiid had the highest upside in the draft. Some think picking him here is a reach — he was projected to slide to the Boston Celtics at No. 6 or the L.A Lakers at No. 7. But the upside was too big to pass up.
At 7-feet tall with a wingspan of 7’5”, Embiid has the ability to post up in the paint, as well as hit the 10-15 foot jumper. He’s drawn comparisons to Hakeem Olajuwon and Serge Ibaka. But for Sixers fans, the easiest (and perhaps, faultiest) comparison here is Nerlens Noel. Yes, Sixers fans, expect more looped B-roll footage of a Sixers big man taking uncontested 5-foot hook shots.
But this isn’t an ACL injury. There’s a lot more unpredictability here. Best case, he’s a superstar center. Worst case, he’s Greg Oden. Hinkie gambled. We’ll see if it pans out.