Joel Embiid is a Philadelphia 76er. The Sixers owners gambled on upside, as you should always do at this stage of a rebuild, and Embiid could give them the superstar they spent last season dreaming about while Darius Morris dribbled into traffic once more. If Embiid's injuries get under control, there's no doubt in my mind that he'll become a stud.
What some Sixers fans are bumping against is how long that'll take to come to fruition. After Nerlens Noel sat all of last season, the waiting game has become a waiting marathon. Sam Hinkie spoke to the media (ABOUT TIME, THE BASTARD!) about JoJo and a whole bunch of other things we'll get to in a bit.
"The number that I've heard from the surgeon himself was five to eight months."
So somewhere between December and the whole season -- essentially the same prognosis Nerlens had after the Sixers scooped him last season. Will they be as patient with Embiid as they were with Nerlens?
"Guess what our approach will be? [ed. note: pretty sure he ripped off his shirt and flexed at this point before continuing] We will focus on the long-term health of the player. We've had this discussion before. It is all that matters, the long-term health of the player. Will we be smart about that? Of course. Will we be thoughtful about that? I hope so. Will we be patient? Yes. We will give him every chance to be as healthy as he can be."
What an answer. What a man. What a feeling.
When did the Sixers think getting Embiid at #3 was a possibility?
"I sniffed opportunity the moment it happened. The moment it happened. The moment he got hurt, we thought we might get him and we might be just the organization with just the set of owners and we might the one to do it."
We'll have more on this, but it's the bit about the owners that's the most important. Cannot give Josh Harris and company enough credit for signing off on the past two drafts, as well as the Andrew Bynum trade, which, man, these guys are not afraid to take calculated risks.
"If you were to be overloaded at a position," Hinkie said, "if you were to have too much depth at the position, if you were to have too many players at a position, center is the place to do it."
Getting Hinkie a big sign that says "RIM PROTECTORS AT A PREMIUM" to shove in everyone's face each time he goes out in public.
I'm comfortable with the Sixers being the organization to exercise patience and restraint in rushing Joel Embiid back. As Sam said, the long-term outlook of his career is the only thing that's important. Wins and losses this season, once again, does not matter. Sorry if it hurts to read, but it doesn't. We're in this thing for sustained championship success, not small victories and a few playoff appearances.
"If [Embiid and Noel] get healthy and play together, we would be a menace at the rim. An absolute menace. And if you're gonna bring violence to the other team, that's the place to do it."
Get healthy, Joel. Get really, really, really healthy.