Where could the Sixers draft Joel Embiid at?


Draft day, A. Wiggins, eff that other side we stay winnin’.

We’ve kind of been waiting for this day for a while now. And in a lot of senses, we are set up for disappointment. It’s going to take extenuating circumstances for Andrew Wiggins to land in Philly. Jabari Parker wasn’t even worked out by the Sixers, so he isn’t coming here. And a week ago today, we learned that Joel Embiid had a stress fracture in his foot, that required that a screw be inserted into his Navicular bone in his foot, which isn’t exactly the type of injury you want someone that you would be drafting to be your franchise player having.

So if the Sixers stay at the third pick, and the miracle scenario of Wiggins falling out of the top two doesn’t occur, the Sixers seem to be down to either taking Dante Exum, and trying to pair him with Michael Carter-Williams or trade MCW, or taking a risk that Joel Embiid can stay healthy and reach his full potential.

Jake Fischer of Slam Magazine reminds us that the Sixers do have access to Embiid’s medical records, as other teams try to buy them.

So given that they have Embiid’s records, and MCW could be a trade chip if the Sixers draft Exum, is it possible that the Sixers either trade up or move back into the middle of the top ten to take Embiid? Certainly. Is it likely? Probably not, but I’d like to examine a scenario where they could realistically move to and take Embiid with their second selection of the night.

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While I’ve seen some mocks that have the Sixers selecting Embiid or the Magic taking him at four, I didn’t project him to go until the Celtics pick at six, in my top ten mock. At five, the Jazz could solicit trades, but it’s hard to imagine the Sixers matching up here. The Jazz just drafted Trey Burke last year, and while Carter-Williams could be an upgrade, they don’t really need a point-guard.

Without MCW’s value, would the Sixers move Nerlens Noel? I’d be surprised, because even if he doesn’t fit with a healthy Embiid, he would almost serve as an insurance option if Embiid doesn’t stay healthy. And those two COULD be a scary pair together on the defensive side of things. So if they don’t have MCW or Noel to move, it’s kind of hard to imagine a scenario where they could get to the fifth pick.

They could conceivably move back to the fifth pick, but why would the Jazz move up to take anyone other than Embiid? They wouldn’t be moving up to take Dante Exum, so that scenario is out.

I look at the seventh pick as the last real shot that the Sixers could get Embiid. In that scenario Wiggins and Parker go first and second in whatever order, Exum goes third to the Sixers, and the Magic decide to with someone like Marcus Smart. That leaves Noah Vonleh to be the fifth pick, and the Celtics would need to make an upset pick of someone like Julius Randle. That’s not likely if Embiid is on the board, but with Embiid’s health concerns, ruling anything out isn’t smart.

For the sake of this argument, let’s say that happens. The seventh spot, where the Lakers could easily move out of for a veteran player, is the last chance that I could see the Sixers getting Embiid. While other teams will come calling, I’m not sure that any team has a better piece to offer than MCW. That brings back up this trade-scenario from ESPN’s Chad Ford,which the Lakers reportedly liked.

"The Lakers have strong interest in a package of Carter-Williams and Thaddeus Young for the No. 7 pick and Steve Nash. But so far there hasn’t been any traction on that deal, according to sources."

I’m not in love with the idea of moving Thad Young in this trade or potentially having to take on Steve Nash‘s expiring contract, but if Embiid’s long-term health checks out, and you already have a point-guard in Exum, then I’m not sure this trade wouldn’t be the best for the Sixers’ future.

But as I said, the chances of Embiid falling all the way to seven are about as good as Wiggins falling to the Sixers at the third pick. When it comes down to it, if the Sixers want Embiid, they’ll more than likely have to gamble on him with the third selection.