For the second straight season the 76ers took a big man with an injury in the first round, an injury that will probably sideline him for the season.
Apparently unable to move up from the third spot, the Sixers selected Kansas 7-foot center Joel Embiid, who suffered a stress fracture in his right foot last week that required surgery shortly after. The recovery time is 4 to 6 months, but it wouldn’t be surprising if the team held him out for the whole season, exactly what they did this past season with Nerlens Noel, who was recovering from ACL surgery.
The Sixers also had the 10th pick and surprised many by selecting Elfrid Payton, a 6-4 point guard out of Louisiana-Lafayette. If there was a position on the Sixers that seemed sort of secure, it was point guard, with rookie of the year Michael Carter-Williams. Payton averaged 19.3 points this past season and is considered one of the top defenders in the draft.
Still, the talk of the night for the Sixers was the selection of Embiid.
“Every time I watched Joel play, he impressed me, because he got better every time I saw him,” said former Kansas star Danny Manning, now head coach at Wake Forest. “He really has a presence defensively, has soft hands and is always continuing to improve his offense.”