The Sixers selected Kansas big man Joel Embiid with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft Thursday.
While taking a productive seven-footer seems like a no-brainer, the selection of Embiid comes with a noted risk: he’s recovering from surgery on a stress fracture in his foot. The recovery will keep him sidelined for reportedly 4-6 months.
If healthy, Embiid is touted as one of the top available prospects of the draft class and is unquestioned as the top center despite beginning a career in basketball in 2011.
During his only season at Kansas, Embiid averaged 11 points and eight rebounds per game. He led the Jayhawks with eight double-doubles. He also averaged 2.6 blocks per game. He set a school record for blocks in a season by a freshman with 72 and recorded at least one block in each of his last 22 games.
His stellar season earned him numerous individual awards, including Second Team AP All-American, Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year and All-Big 12 Second Team.
However, the Yaounde, Cameroon native missed the final six games of his career due to a stress fracture in his back.
According to Tyler R. Tynes of the Daily News, Embiid has good athleticism and has an advanced skill set given his lack of experience.
With Embiid, you get a raw player that has all the instincts and ability to be the next great NBA center. He has solid post moves that need to be developed, a mid-range game and nice vision out of the post to combine with a great wingspan and athleticism.
If developed correctly, he’ll become an above average rim protector with great post moves and a player that becomes versatile on both ends of the floor. If he goes to the wrong team or isn’t coached or developed well, he’ll end up as a starting big man that’s just average and ends up as a role player near the end of his career.