On the surface Joel Embiid appears to be a can’t miss NBA prospect. He’s 7’0 with a
7’0 wingspan, he runs the court like a gazelle, his footwork is impressive, and his timing
on the defensive end is instinctive. While at Kansas he was clearly head and shoulders
above the competition and displayed superstar potential.
In March Embiid suffered a back injury that kept him out of the NCAA tournament.
Although he had a modest body of work to analyze the Kansas freshman decided to
turn pro. Joel was considered by most experts to be the #1 pick in the draft until news of
surfaced about a foot injury that required surgery. Embiid is expected to miss 4 to 6
months. With the injuries starting to pile up should NBA teams take a pass on him?
Absolutely. Joel Embiid is damaged goods. You cold possibly overlook one major injury,
but two before his 21st birthday is a neon red flag. History has shown us big men with
chronic back problems spend a lot of time on injured reserve and big men with bad feet
miss whole seasons at a time.
It’s difficult to justify anchoring your franchise with someone with health issues. Portland
(Greg Oden), Houston (Yao Ming), Milwaukee (Andrew Bogut), and Los Angeles (Andrew
Bynum) all learned this lesson the hard way. As much as you want to see the glass as
half full there’s no reason to believe Joel Embiid can consistently make it through an 82
I understand the temptation associated with drafting Joel Embiid. 7 footers don’t grow on
trees and they can turn your franchise around in a heartbeat. Look no further than Tim
Duncan, Shaq, and Anthony Davis. The problem is for every Shaq, Timmy, and Unibrow
there’s a Kwame Brown, Darko Milicic, and Mike Olowokandi. Nobody wants to be the
team that passes on the league’s next great big man, but chances are the team that
drafts him will be sorry 5 years from now. Mark my words, this guy isn’t worth the risk.