The Philadelphia 76ers may or may not have wanted to take Joel Embiid in the NBA draft. But thanks to the foot fracture heard around the NBA draft world, along with the diagnosis of a 4-6 month recovery for Embiid after his foot surgery on June 20, the Sixers may suffer as well. If the Sixers want Andrew Wiggins or Jabari Parker, they officially have no choice but to pay the Cleveland Cavaliers or Milwaukee Bucks a price for it.
Since Embiid was rumored to be the top choice for the Cavaliers at No. 1, the Sixers would have been left with Wiggins or Parker, after the Milwaukee Bucks took one of them at No. 2. Yet now that Embiid will not start his rookie season on time, no matter who he plays for, there is no chance that Wiggins and Parker won't go 1-2 in some order -- leaving Philadelphia in scrambles.
Before Embiid got hurt, there was a case for the Sixers to gamble on a big man with past injury problems for a third straight season, despite what happened with Andrew Bynum and Nerlens Noel. But at this point, it would be even more ill-advised to take Embiid with the third pick -- yet he could also be available for the Sixers with the 10'th pick.
However, the third pick in the NBA draft was supposed to transform the Sixers, once they got either Wiggins, Parker or Embiid. Yet as it stands, the only way to make that happen is to take the big risk on Embiid and hope he's not another Bynum or Noel, or make some kind of deal with the Cavaliers or Bucks so they can draft Wiggins or Parker.
Unfortunately, since the Sixers had one of the most talent deficient rosters in the NBA last season, there's really nothing enticing they can give the Cavaliers or Bucks -- at least not enticing enough to pass on Wiggins or Parker. Rookie of the year Michael Carter-Williams and Thaddeus Young might be the only legitimate trade bait Philadelphia has, but even if that is on the table, it might not be enough.
Embiid's NBA draft stock isn't the only thing to crash and burn from this news. But unlike Embiid, the Sixers still have some wiggle room to get out of this -- just far less than they had days ago.