Considered by many to be the top prospect in the upcoming 2014 NBA Draft, Kansas center Joel Embiid may have suffered a serious setback to his NBA career over the last few days.
According to one of ESPN’s sources, Embiid injured his right foot recently, and there’s a belief that he may have “broken it.”
Throughout the last year, Embiid has faced relentless scrutiny for his health issues despite possessing elite potential. The 7-foot Cameroon native has the size, strength and instincts to be a dominant force in the paint at the NBA level, but won’t be able to make a significant impact if he can’t stay healthy.
That begs the question of whether or not the Cleveland Cavaliers are going to be brave enough to take a risk with Embiid at No. 1 overall next Thursday? They currently possess the top pick, and were assumed to be targeting the former Jayhawk, but could be reconsidering following this latest update on his deteriorating health.
Remember what happened last year with Nerlens Noel? Considered by many to be the top prospect, the Kentucky product fell all the way to No. 6 overall, where he was subsequently traded from the New Orleans Pelicans to the Philadelphia 76ers. While it wasn’t exactly a monumental drop, it was a shock considering many saw Noel as the clear-cut No. 1 pick. Could Embiid be facing a similar fate in 2014?
There’s a good chance that either Jabari Parker or Andrew Wiggins will benefit from Embiid’s misfortunate. Especially with a team like the Cavaliers that needs to find contributors now – not players who must sit out in order to get healthy – they can’t afford to risk the top pick on an injury-prone big man.
We’ll see if any clarification on Embiid’s status is offered up soon. For now, though, it looks like he’s destined for a draft-day tumble.