Reaction: The Sixers Take Huge Risk, Hope for Huge Reward in Drafting Joel Embiid

John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Embiid could easily be the best player in the draft, if healthy.

Same song, different draft. The 76ers went with upside with the third pick, selecting Kansas C Joel Embiid. An upside play at a pick where gambles generally aren't welcome, Embiid represents the highest boom and highest bust potential on the board.

Inevitably, anything other than Andrew Wiggins is something of a let down. Embiid averaged just 11 points and 8 rebounds for the Kansas Jayhawks, but in only 23 minutes per game, and the skills he displayed at Kansas made him the consensus number one pick in the draft up until about a week ago. Embiid underwent foot surgery which will keep him out of action for at least 6 months.

The questions with Embiid have always been about health - if he is healthy, despite my love for Wiggins, he is the best player available.

When Embiid is healthy, expect him to combine with Nerlens Noel to make a frightening good power forward/center combination. Embiid combines the size of a center with a workable perimeter jumper. The two can play together, I believe, though any combination of two interior-minded bigs needs work to be a usable NBA offense. Hopefully, Noel's development and recovery season results in a truly reformed jumper.

What this means at 10? Who knows - with the expected slip of Noah Vonleh, the Sixers could draft another big if they feel he is the best available. At this point, Marcus Smart is still on the board, and the trade winds are always swirling. They could also look at some of the wings that may be available, including Nik Stauskas, Gary Harris, or even Doug McDermott.

I'll say this: it takes major cajones to take Embiid when there are other seemingly sure things on the board. The Sixers are hoping that gamble pays off in spades. The Sixers were one of five teams to obtain Joel Embiid's medical records legally, and as Brandon Gowton mentioned on the Liberty Ballers twitter account, the Sixers certainly did their homework. This is Sam Hinkie's biggest gamble so far.

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