With the third overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, the Philadelphia 76ers selected Joel Embiid from Kansas.
After winning just 19 games over the course of the 2013-14 season, Philadephia hoped to land a top pick this year and end up with either Andrew Wiggins or Jabari Parker. Instead, after landing the third overall pick, the Sixers end up with Joel Embiid. There were persistent questions about Embiid’s health and just how far he would fall after it was revealed that he needed surgery to repair a stress fracture in his foot. Big men and foot injuries are like oil and water, and for the Sixers—who needed to score here at number three—Embiid’s questionable health is a major concern. That is especially true considering the team’s pick last year, Nerlens Noel.
Noel missed his entire rookie season after being selected with the sixth overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. But although questions persist, the Sixers have a tandem up front that has the ability to develop into something truly special. The question right now is whether the Sixers will keep Embiid or if his selection is a precursor to a trade. Despite his injuries, Embiid has high value across the league and could fetch a major haul.
But focusing on Embiid for a moment, his ceiling is indisputable. The more favorable comparisons he has drawn have been to the likes of Hall of Famer, Hakeem Olajuwon. Embiid has shown a fairly versatile offensive game, good balance, patience and poise. Those are impressive attribute for a young prospect, especially one who began playing basketball less than five years ago.
There are many that feel that within a few years, Embiid will prove to be the best prospect from the 2014 draft. The Sixers hope that ends up being true. If he can stay healthy, he will certainly have an opportunity to be a fixture in Philadelphia for many years to come. With Michael Carter-Williams and Nerlens Noel, the Sixers can finally be somewhat optimistic that a nucleus is in place.
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