Although the Joel Embiid injury complicated things, it did not knock the Sixers out of the running for Andrew Wiggins.
Prior to Embiid’s injury, it seemed that the Cavaliers were leaning toward selecting the center first overall, and that Milwaukee might make Duke’s Jabari Parker the second pick in the draft, allowing Wiggins to slide to the Sixers at three.
While Embiid’s injury has certainly further shrouded the lottery in speculation, it does not eliminate the Sixers from Wiggins-contention. There are still several scenarios that could play out that would allow the Sixers to walk away from Thursday’s draft with Wiggins - it may just become a matter of how badly the organization wants him.
First, there remains the possibility that Cleveland still selects Embiid first overall, injury aside. Although this seems unlikely, especially since Embiid won’t even be able to walk across the draft stage on Thursday, it is a possibility. SBNation’s Liberty Ballers reported that Embiid is by no means out of the running for the first overall selection in Cleveland.
“While the ailment was discovered in a physical performed by Cleveland doctors, a source said it was not a red flag based off their evaluation. The team is still very fond of him and do not seem to be concerned, yet all bets are off if they see something they do not like post operation.”
If Cleveland does indeed decide to draft Embiid with the top pick, it is very likely that Parker would be picked by Milwaukee and that Wiggins would slip to the Sixers, as initially expected prior to the latest Embiid injury.
That is not the only scenario that could see Wiggins potentially being available at the third selection spot, however. If the Cavaliers decide against Embiid as the top pick, it is very possible that they go with Parker, as he may be the most ready to come in and contribute in Cleveland. With Parker off of the board, the Bucks are reportedly interested in Dante Exum, and there remains the possibility that they would select the Australian guard before Wiggins. Parker and Exum going one and two, respectively, would again allow Wiggins to slip to the Sixers at three.
Both of these situations are plausible, although not necessarily likely, and if the Sixers really want Wiggins, as he has reportedly been their top target, then they may have to make a move.
Initially, trading up to the top selection spot didn’t seem to make much sense for the Sixers, as it seemed likely that Wiggins (or Parker) would be there at three. Embiid’s injury makes this less likely, and now if the Sixers really want Wiggins, they may have to trade up to ensure his selection.
A swap of the third pick and Thaddeus Young for the first pick has reportedly been discussed, and remains an option. However, in the wake of Embiid’s injury, Cleveland may want more to drop down a couple selection spots, and it may take a combination of the third and 10th overall picks to get them to move the pick.
The third and 10th picks combined is a high price to pay, and it will be up to the organization to decide if it would be worth it.
How much the 76ers really want Wiggins is a decision they will have to make, but there are certainly still several scenarios that could see him as a Sixer.