Injuries in sports can be the biggest wild cards in a business of constant unpredictability. After news broke that Kansas center Joel Embiid suffered a stress fracture in the navicular bone of his right foot, the NBA draft became even more interesting.
Embiid underwent surgery on June 20 and is looking at a rehab ranging anywhere from four to six months, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.
Embiid also suffered a back injury that held him out of the NCAA Tournament a few months ago. Where Embiid falls in the draft is a puzzling question because of the injury and the history it carries with former NBA centers.
As we got closer to draft day, June 26, Embiid seemed to be the consensus No. 1 player, and the Cleveland Cavaliers were showing plenty of interest in him. After the injury, it seems the Cavs have their sights set on Duke Blue Devil Jabari Parker, according to Ken Berger of CBSSports.com.
The Milwaukee Bucks will likely take whomever is left over between Parker and Wiggins. The Philadelphia 76ers could take Embiid at No. 3, but it would be tough to draft another injured big man after they drafted Nerlens Noel last season and he missed the entire year.
Chad Ford tweeted that Embiid will most likely land between the third and sixth picks.
After polling teams, currently Embiid's range appears to be 3-6 right now. Could change when teams see medicals.— Chad Ford (@chadfordinsider) June 19, 2014
Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix said there's a chance Embiid may fall out of the top 10.
.@ChrisMannixSI on who goes #1 "It’s not Embiid,the question is how far he’ll fall. I think at least out of the top 3, maybe top 10 as well”— TBD in the AM (@TBDintheAM) June 20, 2014
Fox Sports' Sam Amico had an NBA executive and a coach give him conflicting opinions as well.
With so much uncertainty as to how far Embiid will fall, it really depends on the organization and how willing they are to take a chance on the center and let him rehab as long as needed.
I don't see Embiid falling past the Boston Celtics at No. 6.
Boston is rebuilding and can afford to let Embiid rehab for the majority of next season. Plus, having an elite prospect down low could make them a perennial contender for the next decade.
Due to the risk of drafting injured big men, I would understand if Embiid were to drop out of the top 10. In a draft as deep as this, teams need to make sure they land a prospect that will produce for them.
Embiid's injuries may remind teams of Greg Oden and how Portland missed out on Kevin Durant. That thought alone may be enough to scare off a majority of teams in the lottery.