Mar 1, 2014; Stillwater, OK, USA; Kansas Jayhawks center Joel Embiid (21) shoots a free throw during the second half against the Oklahoma State Cowboys at Gallagher-Iba Arena. Oklahoma State beat Kansas 72-65. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Could Joel Embiid Fall to #7?

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Joel Embiid is injured again.  It’s not his back.  This time, it’s his right foot.


The top of the NBA draft was dealt a major blow with the news that Kansas center Joel Embiid suffered a foot injury and possibly a broken right foot.

Embiid’s agent, Arn Tellem, confirmed the injury to ESPN and former Bucks forward Luc Mbah a Moute, who has served as Embiid’s mentor, also said the player had been injured.

This may be considered a severe blow to Joel Embiid’s draft stock.  Fellow Fansided editor Chris Manning wrote that he did well in his draft workouts.  There was every indication that his back was okay.  This injury relates to a series of injuries related to NBA bigmen.  Greg Oden had knee problems.  Yao Ming had foot and knee issues.  The Portland Trailblazers can even date back to drafting Sam Bowie over Michael Jordan. Pau Gasol has had his series of injuries last season, and he is more slight of frame compared to the other power forwards and centers of the league.

At the #7 pick, there will not be a player of more upside than Embiid.  He has played just three years of organized basketball, learned so much, and shows it on the court.  It is rare for centers of elite size and above average athleticism to show that kind of skill level on both sides of the floor.

If the Lakers treated him as a project, and slowly built his body to handle the rigors of an 82-game season, it may be worth the risk.  Still, it is concerning to gamble the success of the franchise on a player who isn’t completely healthy.  They did well with grooming Andrew Bynum.  Bynum had over four years to build up his conditioning and strength.  He played just one 82-game season.  All other seasons, he played 65 games or less.

If the Lakers were a championship team with a solidified roster, it could work out.  But, as great as a poker gambler Dr. Jerry Buss is, Jim Buss may not be willing to make this bet.

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Tags: Draft Injury Joel Embiid Lakers

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