There is no question that this summer’s NBA draft will be full of great talent across the board. Early this morning, it was made known that one more big name will make himself eligible for the upcoming draft.
Joel Embiid out of the University of Kansas has made it official by announcing that he will indeed head to the NBA next year. It was uncertain as to whether or not Embiid would return for his sophomore season, but he now feels he is ready to take his talents to the next level.
Embiid certainly has shown that he is a dominant player who could make an immediate impact on whichever team he goes to. He only started playing basketball back in 2011, but he surely is a quick learner.
With the Philadelphia 76ers taking tank mode to the max, they most definitely will finish either last or second to last at the end of the season. As of right now, the teams in the running for the number one pick are the Sixers, along with the Milwaukee Bucks and Orlando Magic.
There is no guarantee of where the Sixers will land in the draft order, but they should plan on having one of the top three picks. If the Sixers get lucky enough to get the number one pick, they will have a big decision to make.
Heading into the year, Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker were seen as the top prospects for this summer’s draft. Even though they have not disappointed, the emergence of Embiid has been remarkable and many feel he is the one deserving of the number one pick.
A question the Sixers should be asking themselves is what direction they want to head in. Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker are phenomenal athletes that will excel at the next level, but Embiid has shown a presence that may also make him an NBA standout.
In a league that is no longer dominated by big men, the stature of Embiid will give him a distinct advantage over many other centers. He also is very raw and will continue to learn, which gives him a tremendous upside.
The one reason the Sixers may have for not wanting to pick Embiid is simply because they have Nerlens Noel. They traded away Jrue Holiday as they believe that Noel one day will be the center they’ve hoped for.
However, the Sixers again are taking a risk on a big man with knee issues. They have invested heavily in Noel, but are solely relying on the fact that he will be able to return to 100 percent.
Noel has made great progress during his rehabilitation and appears to be on track for a full recovery. Even though all signs look good for Noel, getting back to normal form after knee surgery is not a guarantee.
Noel and Embiid are similar in the way they play the game. Embiid is the better scorer out of the two, but Noel plays better defensively; especially when it comes to shot blocking.
One of the major differences between the two is their size. They both are essentially 7 footers, but Embiid is nearly 50 pounds heavier than Noel and is a more physical player. Noel possesses more athleticism, but Embiid’s size and physicality may allow him to stand out more in the NBA.
Embiid has demonstrated he has the potential to become an elite basketball player and is now drawing a great deal of attention as a result. However, despite Embiid’s emergence, the Sixers main priority should still be Andrew Wiggins.
The Sixers desperately need a wingman scorer, and Wiggins can fill that void. He too is very young and will only continue to improve his game.
Embiid has been compared to Hakeem Olajuwon, and a player of that caliber will be tough to pass up. However, the best scenario for the Sixers would be to get Wiggins and hope Noel makes a full recovery and becomes the player they believe he can be.
There is a very good chance that the Sixers will not get the number one pick and have to settle on whoever remains. It is also likely that when they pick, Embiid, Wiggins, and even perhaps Parker will be off the board.
The Sixers are going to have to make several important decisions for their future in the next couple of months. There are many valuable prospects out there and they will have to closely evaluate each one of them.
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