The Philadelphia 76ers are already haunted by the ghosts of Andrew Bynum and Nerlens Noel. But if the Sixers take Joel Embiid in the upcoming NBA draft -- yet another big man that is a potential health hazard -- it will be impossible to purge the memories of Bynum and Noel until Embiid actually plays a game. The safer bet might be to take Andrew Wiggins or Jabari Parker -- but after Emiid was revealed to have suffered a foot injury on June 19, the Sixers may not have that chance anymore.
Embiid's newfound foot fracture will cause him to undergo surgery on June 20, according to the Associated Press. As such, his status as a potential No. 1 pick by the Cleveland Cavaliers may be in jeopardy, and the Milwaukee Bucks might not want to take the risk with him for their No. 2 pick. As such, both Wiggins and Parker could be gone by the time the Sixers pick at No. 3.
That was always a potential outcome in this NBA draft, but now it is almost a certainty. In that scenario, it would leave Philadelphia with one of its most difficult decisions in recent memory, especially after suffering for a similar decision two years in a row. They can either gamble yet again that an injury prone big man will be worth the risk, despite how Bynum never played a game for the Sixers and Noel missed his rookie season, or pass on someone who might actually be worth the risk this time around.
If Embiid had stayed healthy enough to get picked by the Cavaliers, the Sixers' job would have been much easier, as they would have likely waited for the Bucks to take Wiggins or Parker and then pick the one left over. Now Philadelphia's NBA draft destiny is further out of its hands, which is not what this team needs at such a crucial point in its rebuilding phase.
If the Sixers still want to get Wiggins or Parker, it is even more obvious they'll need to trade up for it, with Embiid less likely to go No. 1 or No. 2. If they can't do it and Embiid is still around at No. 3 -- and Julius Randle or Dante Exum hasn't impressed them by then -- this NBA draft will come down to a familiar, troubling decision in Philadelphia.