Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Source: Any team that doesn’t take Embiid will be screwed
Any team that doesn’t pick Joel Embiid in Thursday’s NBA Draft will end up regretting it, a source close to the 7-foot center told SNY.tv.
“Any team that doesn’t take him is going to be [screwed] because he’s going to be great,” the source said. “He’s going to be great. He’s more talented and he can do more for a team than those other guys can do. He’s special. The dude is special. He’s had injuries, but he’s a stud. He’s an absolute stud. He will have more of an impact on an NBA game than any of the other guys in the draft — any of them.”
Embiid was due to have surgery on his fractured right foot on Friday and won’t be at the Draft next Thursday in Brooklyn. He is expected to miss summer league and a portion of the NBA season.
Meantime, both DraftExpress.com and Chad Ford have moved Embiid down to the No. 4 slot in the draft, behind Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker and Dante Exum. ESPN’s Jeff Goodman has Embiid falling all the way to No. 10.
Parker was due to work out for the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday, and the Cavs will then have an interesting choice to make with the No. 1 overall pick between Parker and Wiggins.
Multiple NBA sources told SNY.tv that Embiid could even slide to the Utah Jazz at No. 5 or even the Boston Celtics at 6.
ESPN’s Brian Windhorst pointed out that Brook Lopez, Yao Ming and Bill Walton all had their careers harshly impacted by the same surgery that Embiid will have, but the source isn’t buying the comparison.
Ford then pointed out that both Michael Jordan and Zydrunas Ilgauskas recovered fine from the injury.
“He’s not as heavy as those guys. Those guys were much bigger as far as heaviness,” the source said of Ming and Walton. “And the medical situation in our country is 100 times better than what it was back with Walton. If you had an ACL in Walton’s days, your career was over. Now guy are coming back in seven months from ACLs. So trying to compare that is just bulls*&t.
“[Embiid] is tough so he’ll come back from the injury and be better.”
Embiid himself Tweeted on Thursday: “It’s all good GOD has a plan for all of us!!! MINOR setback for a MAJOR comeback. He knows what he’s doing.”
If Embiid does drop in the draft, it may end up helping him in the long term.
“He ends up going to a better organization, a better fit, more ready to win, more professional guys on their team that can help him develop and he ends becoming better,” the source said. “So that is what’s probably going to end up happening.
“So if some guys drop him, don’t want to take him and all that stuff, he ends up in a great organization — Boston or the Lakers or somebody that can help develop him — and in three years everybody’s going to be saying, ‘Oh, s*&t, what a mistake those other people made.'”
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.