Joel Embiid's injury shakes up draft order

Joel Embiid's injury shakes up draft order
June 19, 2014, 1:00 pm
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The news of Joel Embiid’s foot injury is bound to impact the draft order (UPDATE, 3:15 p.m.: It's a stress fracture.)

Investing your team’s future in a 7-foot center with a bad back and now a possible broken foot is a big risk, especially for teams attempting to rebuild.

The Sixers can ill afford to travel that Andrew Bynum path again. It was a road they weren’t going to have to choose because the two teams in front of them appeared interested in taking the Kansas product.

But now Andrew Wiggins is likely the No. 1 overall pick.

After Wiggins spent Sunday through Tuesday in Philadelphia, many believe he is the Sixers' top target.

And the Sixers may be. Only now there are three teams fighting for two sure-thing players with the Sixers selecting at No. 3. If Cleveland takes Wiggins, the Bucks will take Jabari Parker and Embiid will be sitting there at No. 3.

Sam Hinkie will have a difficult decision to make. He could package the No. 3 pick and the No. 10 pick to the Cavaliers for the top selection. The Sixers would get their guy but at a higher price than originally needed.

This appears to be bad luck for the Sixers. But it doesn’t have to be. There are other options. Names like Dante Exum and Noah Vonleh come into play.

At the NBA draft combine in May, a number of NBA player personnel people said they would not be surprised if Exum, the 18-year-old from Australia, cracked the top three. People feel 6-foot-6 Exum has that much potential.

The scrutiny that may have been there for using the No. 3 pick on a mysterious talent is no longer -- Embiid becomes the scrutinized pick and the Aussie guard becomes intriguing.

Vonleh out of Indiana is visiting the Magic. According to the Orlando Sentinel, the team would strongly consider using its No. 4 pick to draft Vonleh because of his work ethic and rebounding prowess.

The Sixers could take Vonleh off the board and then trade him to the Magic for a player/players they like, just not at No. 3.

Embiid could be the Nerlens Noel of this year’s draft. A year ago, Noel was considered the No. 1 overall pick before he tore his ACL.

New Orleans selected him with the sixth pick and later made a trade with the Sixers.

More than a year later, fans are still waiting for Noel to play in an organized game. It was a risk the Sixers were willing to take, and they had the time to invest in him getting healthy.

Which team will be willing to do the same with Embiid?

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