In my mock draft I had Joel Embiid as the top pick. The Cavs could really use a player like him. After breaking his foot his stock has fallen. Nobody knows how far he will fall but it’s never a good thing when a big man has foot issues to go along with back issues.
Coming out of workouts his back was cleared. Embiid was almost a lock to be the first pick of the draft. Although the league is more oriented on small ball now; teams can’t pass up on a legit seven footer. He was just learning the game and was being compared to Hakeem Olajuwon.
Any big man with health concerns will be looked at differently. Embiid’s back was the first problem. He seemed to overcome it. He was working out for teams and doing very well. Mock drafts had him going number 1. He wasn’t the most pro ready or the guy with the highest upside, but you can’t teach height. He could run and defend. He showed off some offensive moves in workouts, jump hooks, mid-range jumper even a 3 point shot. I wouldn’t want him taking that shot but it’s good to know he’s working on his offense.
When the injury was announced some people panicked and compared him to Yao Ming. This situation is different. Yao was heavier and much older. Yao had a stress fracture in his left foot prior to the fracture to his left ankle. Another player that is brought up is Zydrunas Ilgauskas. Big Z was drafted in 96 but missed the season with a broken bone in his right foot. He bounced back the next year but then he got hurt again. He missed the entire 99-00 season and struggled with injuries until the 2002-03 season. However big Z came back and over the next six seasons he started 81, 81, 78, 78, 78, 73 games. He made two all-star teams in the process. He overcame his injuries and had a decent career.
Embiid had a successful surgery and had two screws inserted into his right foot. I don’t know the timetable for his recovery but he shouldn’t rush it. Blake Griffin missed his rookie season and he’s pretty good. Nerlens Noel had a torn ACL and was drafted number 6 and he went on to miss the entire season. Hopefully Embiid returns with no issues, teams will pass on him in the drafted but I still expect to hear his name called early in the evening.