This is not a team problem, this is a player problem. Joel Embiid is going to get his second surgery on his right foot in the last two years. Embiid was the 76ers third overall pick in 2014 and has never played a game in the NBA. The “tanking process” that the Sixers are going through seemed to be devastated by any injury to Embiid, but the future of the 76ers seems to be safe because of the most recent third overall pick, Jahlil Okafor.
The future of the extremely young and extremely talented Joel Embiid is in question, it is unknown if he will ever step onto the hardwood again. He faced a stress fracture in his back towards the end of his NCAA career and has received surgery on his right foot last season. Sources told the Philadelphia Inquirer “I would say there’s a great possibility that Embiid won’t play next year, just think how long they sat him when they thought he was healthy.” This is troubling for the young Center mainly because back and foot problems are virtually a death sentence for an NBA big man, Greg Oden and Yao Ming as examples.
This injury could be devastating for the Embiid and even career ending, but the 76ers may be safe for their future despite using a 3rd overall pick. Although the Philadelphia fan base was asking for D’Angelo Russell in the draft, the 76ers front office may have known about Embiid’s injury while drafting Jahlil Okafor third overall this year, who has been impressive in the Summer League. Okafor has been golden through his first summer league games, but very may have been drafted as an insurance policy for Joel Embiid. Okafor is likely the future of the franchise going forward, and if Embiid eventually gets healthy than that will be an added bonus. Nerlens Noel is healthy, Dario Saric is coming over to America in a year or two, Jason Thompson and Carl Landry will be available to mentor the young guys and play, there is no lack of big men in Philadelphia. If the Sixers improve their guards and the core big men stay healthy, the 76ers future plan is in tact. It is a travesty for the young Joel Embiid, but this is a small blow to the Sixers. Obviously we’d all love to see Embiid thrive and be a 76er, but health comes first and we all wish him the best of luck through his surgery.