Prepare for another tanking and embarrassing season for the Philadelphia 76ers as they continue to rebuild their team around young and promising prospects.
Just like last year when they announced early that top pick Nerlens Noel will miss the duration of the entire season, the Sixers brass insinuated that they will have no problem doing it all over again for Joel Embiid, who most likely will follow Noel’s career path of missing his rookie year in the pro league because of injuries.
“We will focus on the long-term health of the player, that’s all that matters,” Philadelphia 76ers general manager Sam Hinkie said via philly.com. “Will we be smart about that? Of course. Will we be patient? Yes.”
Noel was picked 6th overall by the New Orleans Pelicans in the 2013 NBA Draft and was traded to Philadelphia for point guard Jrue Holiday and Pierre Jackson. Noel previously tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) during his only year at the University of Kentucky and college and the Sixers still took a risk on him an stashed him away for all of the 2013-2014 NBA season.
Embiid from the University of Kansas fell to the Sixers as the third overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. Days before the annual rookie selection Embiid injured his foot and required surgery. He was initially diagnosed to miss four to six months which makes him available at the tail end of the 2014-2015 NBA season.
For his part, Embiid seems okay with the grand plan of sitting out the entire year; in other words, help the Sixers to yet another dismal record that will bring them a high pick in the 2015 NBA Draft.
“Right now, I’m just thinking about my recovery,” Embiid replied said in the same article. “I just want to get back on the court whenever I can, when I feel 110 percent. I’m just going to work out and do everything and come back whenever I can.”
For next year’s draft, lottery teams can look forward to drafting top prospects like Emmanuel Mudiay, Kelly Oubre, Jahil Okafor, Karl Towns and Stanley Johnson.
Philadelphia’s time back to playoff contention might take another season or even more. With another bleak season ahead, no one can blame the Sixers brass if they want to continue stockpiling talent via the draft. Sitting out Joel Embiid would be déjà vu for the franchise but it’s a situation worth repeating as they back down on another top prospect by 2015.