As far as Sixers fans are concerned Thursday was probably a hell like no other, a great smiting by the basketball gods possibly whisking Andrew Wiggins away for Philadelphia for good just a day after he seemed within in our grasp.
On Thursday morning, ESPN's Jeff Goodman reported Kansas big man Joel Embiid had suffered a right foot injury, and the extent was unknown. A couple hours later, Yahoo's Adrian Wojnarowski received word he had suffered a stress fracture to the navicular bone, an injury which plagued the careers of centers like Yao Ming and Bill Walton
Prior to the injury becoming public knowledge, the Cameroonian seemed pretty set to become the number one overall pick, but this newfound injury seemingly could change Cleveland's approach with the top selection. As of right now, that does not seem to be the case.
According to sources familiar with Cleveland's thinking, Embiid is by no means out of the running for being selected by the Cavaliers. While the ailment was discovered in a physical performed by Cleveland doctors, a source said it was not a red flag based off their evaluation. The team is still very fond of him and do not seem to be concerned, yet all bets are off if they see something they do not like post operation.
Sports Illustrated reported that while he may not be able to play for nine to twelve months, Embiid should make a full recovery. He even posted a picture on Instagram of him playing golf, an interesting choice for a seven footer with a broken foot who has millions of dollars on the line. The source expressed to LB that if Embiid went under the knife as soon as possible, it would prohibit him from working out for other teams, thus tempting teams to trade up for the number one pick to select a player like Wiggins or Jabari Parker. Multiple reports have noted that Philadelphia and Cleveland have engaged in trade talks which would land the Sixers the first overall, allowing them a guarantee of landing Wiggins.
The source also went on to say that Cleveland could likely select Embiid, whether at picks one or three while hoping to add some assets in the process.
Nevertheless, Sixers GM Sam Hinkie is in a tough situation. He can stand his ground and hope Wiggins falls to the third pick, or possibly fall into Cleveland's trap, surrendering picks and players to secure his man with the top overall pick.