Alfred Einstein once said that the definition of insanity is to continue doing the same things, yet expecting change. The Portland Trailblazers took Sam Bowie over Jordan, much to the chagrin of Trailblazers fans, and made the same mistake taking injury- prone Greg Oden over Kevin Durant. And now it seems as if the Cleveland Cavaliers or whoever they trade their number one overall selection to, will be looking to take Joel Embiid ahead of any of the potential All-Stars that would go behind him. This isn’t a knock on Embiid who is a legit 7 feet tall with great agility. No. My concern with him is more about a word that rhymes with agile: fragile.
For much of the season I watched Emiid, a super freshman and late bloomer on many high school top prospects lists, dominate for his Kansas team in a surprisingly skillful manner. He garnered more attention as each game passed being lauded by potential NBA suitors with lofty compliments like, “He’s a young Hakeem”. His progression was such that you could see him get better with each game. That all came to a screeching halt a few weeks before the NCAA tournament when ESPN reported that he would be out indefinitely with a back injury.
Now, here we go again just a week before the biggest day of this young man’s life, the NBA Draft, and according to Yahoo Sports, Embiid has a foot injury that will require surgery. The injury itself is a stress fracture to the navicular bone. If somehow you feel you’ve heard of that word before and aren’t an anatomy major, it’s probably because a navicular bone fracture is the same injury to befall the careers of guys like Bill Walton, Yao Ming, and Zydrunas Ilgauskas.The recovery time varies but there is always a risk of this type of injury reoccurring and with those names setting the precedent, I’d be scared off of Embiid.
I’m not against the drafting of big men, I just believe that when you are picking number 1 you should be looking to take the best player available, almost without regard to position because you weren’t very good anyways if you had the top pick. With Embiid’s increasing injury history taking Andrew Wiggins or Jabari Parker, number 1 isn’t the “safe” pick, it’s the right pick. But of course, the idea of any Cleveland team doing the right thing makes me laugh out loud. Joel Embiid won’t make it very long in the NBA and if you’re drafting him in the top 5 this year, you have to be prepared for that. If I were a GM I wouldn’t touch Embiid with a top 7 pick pole. I may be wrong, and believe me this wouldn’t be the first time, but I doubt it. -Glass ¤