There’s fear that Joel Embiid, touted as one of the top three draft prospects, has badly injured his foot.
Jeff Goodman of ESPN has reported that a right foot injury was discovered during Joel Embiid’s physical with Cleveland.
This news is big news for the teams at the top of the draft and while the extent of the injury has not been confirmed, it will create some concern within the respective camps.
Earlier this year Embiid suffered a back injury that saw him miss the NCAA Tournament and the concern will be over the 7-footer’s durability and susceptibility to injury.
There’s a famous history of big men with enormous potential that have had their careers cut down by injury. In 2007 we saw Greg Oden taken with the first pick, over Kevin Durant no less, by the Portland Trailblazers only to play 81 total games and spend whole seasons on the side-line, hobbled with injuries.
The parallels between Oden and Embiid is sure to have some teams wondering whether the Cameroonian is worth the risk when other more guaranteed talented is on the board in the form of Jabari Parker and Andrew Wiggins.
If Embiid was not surrounded by health concerns it’d be hard to imagine him not being taken with the 1st pick of the draft.
At 7-foot Embiid has genuine center size and a massive frame that makes him a top quality shot blocker. On the offensive end of the floor he’s also showed that he’s got a huge amount of potential and his already polished game boosted his stock all year long.
The Cleveland Cavaliers own the 1st overall pick of this years draft and seemed to have an interest in taking Embiid before this most recent injury.
It’s hard to tell how this news will affect Cleveland’s plans. With the Milwaukee Bucks reportedly sold on Jabari Parker and the 76ers openly seeking Andrew Wiggins, Embiid could slide as far as 4th or 5th should Cleveland decide to pass on him. Cleveland may also explore trading the pick for some more established talent.
Ultimately though, Cleveland are in a much better position than the other teams around them in the draft after winning the lottery.
Kyrie Irving is an established talent that Cleveland will be building around for the foreseeable future and taking a risk on Embiid may not bother Cleveland given there franchise player is already in place.