In line with Philadelphia’s plan to become a legitimate NBA team by 2020, the Sixers snagged the big Cameroonian, Joel Embiid with the third overall pick. That’s not to say that Embiid isn’t a good player — far from it, he was probably the most talented and highest ceiling prospect in the entire draft, it’s just that along with their other first round selection, Dario Saric, Embiid won’t be in line to contribute this season. After his freshman season ended prematurely due to a stress fracture in his back, Embiid broke the navicular bone in his right foot during predraft workouts for teams. The timetable for return is varied and I’m seeing recovery from three up to eight months, but given how Philadelphia handled Nerlens Noel‘s injury last season, it’s safe to say Embiid won’t debut until 2015-16.
In only 23 minutes a game, Embiid was able to put up impressive numbers in the block, steal and rebound categories, as well as shooting a great field goal percentage. But it wasn’t his numbers that impressed scouts. Embiid looked like a gazelle on the court, gracefully running up and down the court with the fluidity usually reserved for players a good foot shorter than him. Throw in the advanced post moves and the fact that Embiid has only been playing basketball for a few years and teams were salivating over the prospect of developing him.
It was Philadelphia who took the risk on Embiid and if we are to look ahead to his 2015-16 season, we may be able to see what sort of impact he can have, especially if you are drafting in dynasty leagues. With Noel in the fold and Embiid easing himself into the league, I imagine the Sixers will be cautious and play him only around 25 minutes a game when he finally suits up. The Sixers play at the leagues highest pace, so playing only 25 minutes is almost the same as playing around 29 minutes on another team. His rookie season numbers project as follows.
Because of the limited minutes, when Embiid suits up he won’t be much of a fantasy prospect, ranking in the 160’s, but for dynasty purposes, he’s worth a top four pick for his Hakeem Olajuwon type ceiling. The most common comparison for Embiid has been Olajuwon, but the second most common has been Greg Oden. Let’s hope for Sixers’ fans, that he turns more into the former.