The Los Angeles Lakers suddenly have a shot at Kansas Jayhawks stud Joel Embiid, who is expected to slide down from consensus no.1 pick to top-10 selection player after suffering a serious foot injury.
The Lakers, who hold the no.7 overall pick in the upcoming NBA Draft, will have a chance to select a once-in-a-generation big man, according to several NBA scouts and analysts.
After being cleared from a back injury, Embiid's draft stock increased and became the favorite to be selected no.1 overall in a very loaded draft class that featured fellow Jayhawks star Andrew Wiggins, Duke Blue Devils scorer Jabbari Parker and Australian teen phenom Dante Exum.
However, all things went downhill for Embiid after he suffered a foot injury (stress fracture) that required surgery and rehabilitation.
"Joel Embiid suffered a stress fracture to the navicular bone in his right foot," Arn Tellem said Thursday via ESPN. "He is scheduled to have surgery tomorrow. Joel will be unable to participate in any additional workouts, and will not attend the draft in New York. We will have no further comment until after the surgery."
Embiid will reportedly miss the NBA Draft because of the injury, casting a cloud of doubt on his ability to make an impact in his first season in the pro league. With this development, it's clear that Parker or Wiggins have emerged as the frontrunners in this year's draft.
"Tellem told ESPN's Andy Katz earlier Thursday that Embiid suffered the injury sometime over the last few days. Embiid is not attending the draft because he can't fly for 10 days to two weeks post-surgery, Tellem told Katz. The draft is next Thursday," via ESPN.
Embiid, who averaged 11.2 points, 8.1 rebounds and 2.1 blocks in his only season with the Jayhawks, on the other hand will have to accept the fact that he's going to slide a bit on the draft board, as lottery teams try to evaluate his current health condition.
The Lakers might have a chance to steal the 20-year older since they direly need to plug in the loopholes in their frontline, as power forward/ center Pau Gasol hits free-agency this summer.
"Also hearing that Arn Tellem wanted Embiid to go first... but if that can't happen, he's going to push hard to steer him to Boston or LA," ESPN's Bill Simmons posted on his Twitter account.