There are big questions in the NBA. And only one group can try to answer them. Every now and then, the Crossover Chronicles staff will tackle discuss the big issues in the NBA. Today we ask:
What team should take the chance on Joel Embiid with the news of his foot injury?
Matt Zemek: The team that should take a chance on Joel Embiid is:
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That is right. No team should take a chance on him.
We know how this story ends — right, Sam Bowie and Greg Oden?
I feel awful for Embiid, and his story shows why college athletes need more protection(s), but in the cold, hard realm of making draft selections, there seems to be little point in taking him.
Even before this latest injury report, his back problems pointed to a steady stream of injury problems in a league with an absurdly long 82-game regular season, not to mention an extended playoff grind for any team good enough to get out of the first round.
It is not fair. It is a terrible story.
It also should not mean that a team should take him.
Philip Rossman-Reich: Man, that is a lot of talent for 30 teams in the NBA to pass up twice. It is JUST a stress fracture. Do I want to build a franchise around his future? No. Absolutely not. You cannot possibly do that anymore — even with the back injury, I would not have felt comfortable doing that.
The bottom line is Embiid is still an incredibly talented player with a natural basketball sense and a body that can get those plays done (provided he is healthy). He showed how quickly he has taken to the game in his one year in Kansas. Someone is going to draft him and probably get a pretty good bargain — again, when he is healthy. The injury question is only enough to chase away teams that need a franchise player and immediate contributor.
That is why I do not think Embiid gets past the Celtics at No. 6.
Boston still has Rajon Rondo and is positioning itself to acquire another big-name superstar. The Celtics have tons of assets and would be willing to take on the risk of Embiid. More importantly, Embiid’s load in Boston would not be that heavy. He would be relied upon to defend and rebound — in a Tyson Chandler-type role — allowing him to grow and develop slowly. That is a big bonus as he tries to figure out how to stay healthy and prolong his career.
The Celtics feel like a good spot for Embiid to land. That is unless they are going to trade Rondo and blow the whole thing up.
Josh Burton: I think that Embiid’s injury, and the prevalence of foot injuries in big centers like him, should give most teams in the lottery serious pause on whether to draft him. He is too risky of a choice for rebuilding teams like the Cavaliers, Bucks, 76ers, and Magic to lean on as a reliable building block.
That is why he would make sense for a team further down in the lottery with at least a semblance of established talent. The Lakers, at seventh, had a brutal season last year but still have some stars still on the roster, so a possible high-risk, high-reward pick in Embiid would make more sense.
I do not know if drafting Embiid makes sense for the Lakers, but he would be an interesting option for them, especially with the obvious downfall involved with him. It would be too risky for teams in worse situations to take him.