Joel Embiid‘s foot injury has many teams at the top of the 2014 NBA Draft clamoring for other options. His lingering back trouble along with the foot injury bring cause for concern, but a team like the Boston Celtics shouldn’t pass on him.
I say all of this assuming that Boston won’t pull off a deal for Kevin Love. If they were to do so it would likely cost them both of their first-round draft picks this year. If they keep them, the multiple picks would be the exact reason Embiid would make sense.
The Celtics traded away their cornerstone pieces in Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, and even brought in Brad Stevens with the understanding the next couple years would be a rebuilding process.
Embiid is a prototypical NBA center. He’s drawn comparisons to Tim Duncan and Hakeem Olajuwon. He uses his body to create space for his shot, but can finish around the rim with good footwork, hook shots and dunks. If his ceiling vaults him on the level with two hall-of-fame caliber guys, his floor might be a guy like Roy Hibbert.
I think the Celtics would jump at the chance for that kind of player. Let’s face it, teams don’t need much to compete in the weak Eastern Conference.
If Embiid proved to be unhealthy before the season starts, they have big men in Kelly Olynk and Jared Sullinger to carry the weight until he gets back; that’s assuming they aren’t dealt in other draft day deals. If Embiid proves to be as advertised, I think at least one of those guys is expendable.
The extra pick at slot 17 makes it easy to take a risk with Embiid. If he misses time next year or doesn’t pan out, they have the opportunity, a little later, to ensure they get quality first-round talent.
If nothing else, this can be Plan B or even C for Boston. If they don’t get Love, they may look to trade Rajon Rondo. If they don’t like what they are hearing in that regard, they can always settle on a big man that may develop into a special talent.
The injury has caused a lot of uncertainty around the league, but it might be a blessing in disguise for the Celtics. I think they would be crazy to pass him up if he fell that far.