How long can the patience of the Philadelphia 76ers last on Joel Embiid?
Embiid, the Sixers top pick in the 2014 NBA Draft missed the entire 2014-15 NBA season and will continue to be out until the coming 2015-16 season as well.
So the belief is that Embiid may be back by the 2016-17 NBA season though maybe not in its entirety. Word has it that the Cameroonian big man may not be ready by the opening of that season meaning he could miss a couple of games at the minimum.
For those who are unaware, Embiid has been beset by foot problems, something apparent even before he was included in the 2014 NBA Draft.
Embiid would have been the top pick for that draft class had it not for his health issues. The Cleveland Cavaliers took a good look at him but eventually passed and took in Andrew Wiggins. The Sixers took him in with the third pick the chance and now they are (sort of) paying the price for it.
After undergoing surgery last year, Embiid required a second one recently and was ruled out again for the coming season. The Sixers reportedly want Embiid back by October, 2016 though chances are this will fall somewhere in November if his recovery goes smoothly.
So the question now is on whether the Sixers will continue to wait on Embiid. Only his first two years are guaranteed and by the time he does get back, the Sixers can exercise their options on the injury-plagued center.
Embiid’s case is likened to that of another NBA player, Greg Oden.
Oden was the top pick of the 2007 NBA Draft by the Portland Trailblazers but never really got his NBA career off the ground. Knee injuries sidelined the seven-footer and though he did try to make a comeback, injuries still derailed him from doing so.
This was the same year that Kevin Durant (OKC Thunder) and Al Horford (Atlanta Hawks) entered the league.
Embiid’s future may largely depend on how 2015 pick Jahlil Okafor. This early, many are keenly awaiting what the 6-foot-11 player can offer after being passed up by the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Los Angeles Lakers.
His tandem with Nerlens Noel will be something to watch, a deadly frontline if both hum and perform as expected based on insights by basketball analysts.
So if Okafor proves to be a prized find, is it goodbye to Embiid? Will he be another Greg Oden case?