Feb 22, 2014; Lawrence, KS, USA; Kansas Jayhawks center Joel Embiid (21) and guard Andrew Wiggins (22) speak with media after the game against the Texas Longhorns at Allen Fieldhouse. Kansas won 85-54. Photo | Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
So the Philadelphia 76ers get the shaft in the draft again. Maybe, maybe not — it depends on who you believe. I desperately want to believe Eliot Shorr-Parkes of the Newark Star Ledger who paints a dream scenario after another draft nightmare in a series of Sixers draft nightmares dating back to 1974 when the Sixers lost a coin flip for the No. 1 pick and ended up with Marvin Barnes instead of Bill Walton.
Walton led the Portland Trailblazers to the 1977 NBA Championship and won the MVP the following year. Barnes never played a game for the Sixers. His pro career was cut short by drug use; he spent time in prison and was homeless for a time.
“We got screwed again” was the prevailing sentiment of Sixers fans last week when it was disclosed that Kansas center Joel Embiid required surgery for a foot injury. Most NBA analysts had the 7-footer going to the Cleveland Cavaliers with the first pick in the draft. Duke forward Jabari Parker, considered the most NBA-ready star in the draft, would then go to Milwaukee with the second pick. And Andrew Wiggins, the Kansas forward just out of High School with unlimited potential, would fall in the 76ers lap.
And now there seems no hope of getting Wiggins. Again, maybe, maybe not.
The latest mock draft from CBS sports analyst Matt Moore still has the super-freshman going to the 76ers. Moore has Cleveland taking Parker and then the Milwaukee Bucks taking Dante Exum, a 6’6” guard who plays in Australia and seems to keep climbing up the draft chart as teams see him in workouts. (He is coming to Philadelphia to workout for the Sixers this week.)
And Moore isn’t the only one; Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News also has Wiggins still going to the Sixers with the third pick. Lawrence thinks the Cavaliers will still take Embiid at No. 1 and then Parker will go to Milwaukee.
Granted, most mock drafts have Wiggins and Parker now going one and two leaving the Sixers deciding whether to pick the 7-foot, bad foot Embiid. That would mean for three years in a row the 76ers had acquired a 7-footer with injury problems. Andrew Bynum was a disaster. Much like Embiid, Kentucky’s Nerlens Noel was projected to be the No. 1 pick in last year’s draft, but a knee injury late in the season caused him to fall to New Orleans at the six spot, the 76ers then traded for the rights to Noel, who (expectedly) sat out the entire last season.
Embiid has already had his surgery and it reportedly went well, but he is still expected to be out 4-6 months and will miss most of next season. Would the 76ers take Embiid at No. 3 and pair him inside with Noel, potentially giving Philadelphia the most imposing dual presence since the Liberty Towers?
Maybe they won’t have to pick him at No. 3 to get him. The 76ers also have the tenth pick in the draft. The Sixers got the pick along with Noel for then-All Star guard Jrue Holiday.
That could turn out to be a phenomenal trade if Jeff Goodman from ESPN is right. He thinks Embiid will fall all the way down to the Sixers at No. 10.
So could the 76ers end up with Wiggins at No. 3 and Embiid at No. 10? Probably not. I am just delivering you the same good news that Lloyd Christmas got in the movie Dumb and Dumber. I’m telling you there’s a chance.
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