The countdown is on in anticipation for the 2014 NBA Draft and yesterday all hell seemed to break loose when the media learned the projected #1 overall pick, Joel Embiid, sustained a stress fracture to the navicular bone in his right foot. This is the same injury that ended NBA legend Bill Walton’s career. The seven foot prospect from Kansas, who has been compared to Hakeem Olajuwon, is scheduled to have surgery today. This means he will no longer be participating in pre-draft workouts and unfortunately he won’t be able to attend the draft next Thursday night.
The news of this sudden injury gave the Philadelphia fan base quite a bit of stress yesterday because of the effects it could have on their draft strategy. This now means Cleveland most likely will pass on Embiid with the #1 overall pick and take either Andrew Wiggins or Jabari Parker. Of them two players, whoever doesn’t go #1 will most likely go #2, leaving our Sixers at #3 with Parker and Wiggins gone. Should we take a chance on Embiid? Take a chance on Exum? Noah Vonleh? We were guaranteed a franchise player in this draft and now because of an Embiid injury, we may be taking risks that could easily result in busts. The Sixers need to hit a home run in this draft and have to be sure of their picks. Taking a risk on Embiid, Exum, or Vonleh has slim potential to become a home run. Embiid will fall which means if the Sixers want Wiggins then Sam Hinkie has to go get his man. I’m going to give you a look at the best way to do just that without losing the #10 pick.
So as of right now the Sixers have the #3 and #10 overall picks in next Thursday’s NBA Draft. Adrian Wojnarowski, NBA insider for Yahoo Sports, reported today that the Sixers were having discussions with teams about gathering an additional pick somewhere in between their original picks at #3 and #10. Some teams including Boston at #6, LA Lakers at #7, and Sacramento at #8 have all been linked to rumors saying they would like to move back. The best option for the Sixers to attack would be Sacramento at #8. Hinkie should attempt to put together a trade in which we would send Thaddeus Young and 2 second round picks to the Kings for the #8 overall pick. Sacramento has made it clear they would like to move back and all they want in return is a veteran player. Thad Young is that player and the Kings front office loves Young. They tried to get him during last year’s draft in a deal involving Jrue Holiday, but New Orleans came in with a better offer which kept Young in a Sixers jersey for another season. This is a deal many people believe the Kings would gladly accept and it would be a win for both teams. The deal would leave the Sixers with three top-10 picks, #3, #8, and #10. But wait, Hinkie isn’t done just yet.
The Sixers would then get on the phone with Cleveland and begin talking to them about acquiring the #1 overall pick. Hinkie offers the Cavs the #3 pick and the #8 pick for the #1 overall pick in return. It makes perfect sense for both teams. The Sixers get the #1 pick and get their man, while Cleveland receives two top-10 picks in the most talented draft since the 2003 class. The Sixers would then wind up with the #1 and #10 picks and a better chance to have a successful rebuild here in Philly.
So let’s get to the draft. Here’s the way I see the top-10 playing out as of right now.
- Philadelphia 76ers- Andrew Wiggins, F, Kansas
- Milwaukee Bucks- Jabari Parker, F, Duke
- Cleveland Cavaliers- Joel Embiid, C, Kansas
- Orlando Magic- Dante Exum, G, Australia
- Utah Jazz- Noah Vonleh, F, Indiana
- Boston Celtics- Aaron Gordon, F, Arizona
- LA Lakers- Julius Randle, F, Kentucky
- Cleveland Cavaliers- Marcus Smart, G, Oklahoma St
- Charlotte Hornets- Doug McDermott, F, Creighton
- Philadelphia 76ers- Nik Stauskas, G, Michigan