Joel Embiid and Jabari Parker may not be available for the Sixers this June. Or anyone else for that matter. This was always a possibility, but it's important to remember how early it is and how these kids are 18 and 19 years old -- they will change their mind again and again and then again again. I'm getting ahead of myself.
Embiid, he of BEING THE BEST fame, said today that he's not sure if he's ready for the NBA lifestyle just yet. Embiid has been jumping into the top spot in 2014 NBA Draft mocks lately, but he's not declaring just yet. "I think it would be too overwhelming for me right now. I'm trying to learn everything and what other people did. All of the great big men went to college at least two or three years."
Joel refers to Shaq (three years), Hakeem (three years -- also his basketball role model), and Tim Duncan (four years). Back to him in a second.
Onto Parker -- his decision would be less about readiness and more about lifestyle. According to Sam Smith, some NBA executives think he'll stay in school because he feels like he owes it to Duke.
Chicagoan Jahlil Okafor, a Parker friend and big man, is going to Duke next season. Parker is a bright young man with a strong family and the feeling is he understands both the importance of education and feels he owes Duke and the chance to have a great Duke team.
He goes onto bring up Kobe Bryant, who had a tough time adjusting to the NBA right away even though he's Kobe Bryant.
OK. So that's all sort of bullshit. Regardless of whether these guys stay or don't stay, bringing up guys who were drafted in the 90's or earlier is not a good reason. Times have changed, the way players are scouted has changed, and the way teams drafted has changed -- the Tanking Armada isn't going to draft Jabari or Joel with the idea that they will be studs right off the bat. Player Development has become a thing for a reason.
2014 NBA Draft
2014 NBA Draft
Both of these guys, should they stay, would be making a basketball mistake. It's not quite a Scottie Reynolds Situation (maybe a bit of one with Jabari) where a player's weaknesses get more exposed the longer he stays in school. But the injury concern is there. Look at Mitch McGary. Would've been a lottery pick, now he's out for the season. Marcus Smart stayed, but now he's looking at the bottom half of the top 10 rather than the 2nd overall pick. If you're getting first round money -- and in the case of these guys, they'd be getting Top 5 money -- you leave.
That being said, I'm not taking too much stock in all this just yet. Once the season ends, perspective will be lent and the NBA's appeal will rear itself. I'm also not, like, mad at either of these two kids for wanting to stay in school, if that's the case. College is awesome, they probably feel untouchable, and there's plenty of other teenager-like things they're factoring into this thought process. Do whatever you want, guys.
Although maybe Embiid is just worried about more important things, like learning how to drive a car. I love him.
Also, a Jabari Parker-Jahlil Okafor frontcourt OH MY GOD.