Sixers’ Draft Makes It Seem Like They’ll Be Tanking Again Next Season

Kansas Jayhawks center Joel Embiid celebrates after scoring in the first half of a Feb 22, 2014, game against the Texas Longhorns. Photo | Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas Jayhawks center Joel Embiid celebrates after scoring in the first half of a February 22, 2014, game against the Texas Longhorns. Photo | Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

As a fan, you want to believe the Sixers did this draft right.

But it’s hard. This is Philadelphia, after all, and you’ve gotten burned so many times before. In 1993, the Sixers took Shawn Bradley over Penny Hardaway and Jamal Mashburn. In 1994, they took Sharone Wright at No. 6 — and ended up picking in the No. 3 and No. 1 spots the next two seasons. One year the Sixers took two guys who’d go on to make the majors — in baseball. Between 1999 and 2003, the best player the Sixers drafted was Samuel Dalembert. The Sixers had the No. 2 pick in the 2010 draft and took Evan Turner, who had just completed one of the best college seasons of all time. He was a disappointment here.

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Sixers Take Embiid: What They’re Saying

As you know by now, the Sixers used the third pick of the NBA Draft on Thursday night to pick Joel Embiid, the injured freshman big man from Kansas. The 10th pick was eventually converted to Dario Saric, a good European player who is at least a year away from coming to this country to play.

Here’s what they’re saying about the Sixers this morning:

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Sixers Fans: Beware a Wiggins/Embiid Combo

On my very first day in Philly, I walked into the office of an editor who greeted me with a quick question:

“What do Philadelphia and Lawrence, Kansas have in common?” he shot.

It wasn’t an inappropriate question: I was just finishing eight years working for the newspaper in Lawrence — home of the Kansas Jayhawks — and was ready to move onward and upward in the journalism industry. So I gave the first answer that came to mind.

“Wilt Chamberlain,” I said, and dingdingdingdingding I was right. A few years later, and I might also have mentioned the Morris twins. Philadelphia and Kansas have long had a cozy little relationship: The city sent players to the country to be groomed, play high-stakes NCAA tournament games, and move on to the NBA. The closest we Kansans ever came to reciprocating was when Larry Brown — who won the 1988 championship at KU — came here to try to get Allen Iverson to practice for a few years.

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Doctor Warns Sixers Not to Take Embiid

Count George Stollsteimer as an opponent of the Sixers taking Joel Embiid in this week’s NBA draft. Embiid recently underwent foot surgery, and Stollsteimer — a doctor at the  Trenton Orthapedic Group — said that doesn’t bode well for the center’s career.

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Sixers Post Job Advertisement for New Mascot

The NBA Draft is not the only thing on the minds of the Sixers this week. They’ve also posted a job listing for a new mascot on an NBA jobs site. No salary is listed for the job of Sixers mascot, but it’s a full-time position requiring at least two years working as a mascot at the professional or collegiate level. A college degree is not required, but preferred; a GED or high school diploma is a must.

There’s no word on when a new mascot is coming, but the team confirmed last week it was “in the exploration and planning stages of incorporating a team mascot into our overall plans.”

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Could the Sixers Draft Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid?

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. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

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.

Follow @LarryMendte on Twitter.

Top Prospect Joel Embiid Injures Foot, Throws NBA Draft into Chaos

And you thought the Sixers’ draft day was going to go swimmingly.

Today came news that possible No. 1 overall pick Joel Embiid suffered a foot injury. This is bad no matter who you think the Sixers should take: If you want Embiid, a 7-foot center who played for Kansas last season, it could lessen the chance they’ll take him. If you want another player (6-8 wing Andrew Wiggins), the Sixers may need to trade up to draft him if teams are passing on Embiid.

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Nerlens Noel Hit with Child Support Lawsuit

TMZ reports that 76ers rookie Nerlens Noel has been hit with a child support suit from a woman named Jamie.

“In legal docs, obtained by TMZ Sports, Jamie claims Nerlens agreed to pay $10k per month in child support — and did for 3 months — but suddenly cut her off and hasn’t paid a dime since.”

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It’s Not Just the Sixers: Jersey Is Paying Big to Lure New Jobs

Photo | Mel Evans

Photo | Mel Evans

There’s been some grumbling locally this week about New Jersey’s $82 million package to lure the Sixers headquarters and practice facilities to Camden. That’s part of a broader strategy by Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to lure jobs to the state through massive subsidies: He’s granted $4 billion in such subsidies during his governorship — up from $1.2 billion granted by the state the 10 years before he took office.

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