With Saturday night’s statement revealing center Joel Embed has had a setback in his injury recovery, the Sixers need to think long and hard about drafting a front court player for the third consecutive year. The statement reads:
Recently, Joel and Sixers personnel traveled to Los Angeles for a series of routine exams with a number of physicians who have been actively involved throughout this process. During his visit with Dr. Richard Ferkel, a standard CT scan on Joel’s right foot revealed less healing than anticipated at this point.
One of the questions many are now asking is if the Sixers should take a big man with their top pick. I find the answer pretty simple: No, unless Karl Anthony-Towns magically drops to pick number three.
The Front Court Holds the Sixers’ Strongest Players
The Sixers are quite strong in the front court with potential filled big men Nerlens Noel and Joel Embiid, even with this seemingly minor setback. Summer league games mean little, and giving Embid the time to fully heal from this injury is better than forcing him to play meaningless games. It’s possible Embed misses a few games to start the season, but ultimately the former Kansas Jayhawk will debut in Philly this season, whether it be November or January.
On top of that, the Sixers could also re-sign tenacious Thomas Robinson or consistent Henry Sims for low prices, to solidify a very solid set of big men. To add a power forward/center through the draft, unless he is the reincarnation of Hakeem the Dream or Tim Duncan, would be silly. It would not improve their team. The drafted player would have to develop under Embiid and Noel, not getting the necessary minutes at first and limiting the desired growth. In addition, the same stunting of growth could happen to Noel or Embiid. That is not what the Sixers want.
They Need to Distribute the Talent
The Sixers have gaping holes that need to be filled. To waste the third overall pick on a big man and not improve the other large problems on their team would be ridiculous. For instance, the Sixers have a several solid point guards with Ish Smith and Isaiah Canaan, but none strong enough to start in the league. Hinkie needs to fix things like that, before adding on players at positions the Sixers already have NBA starting talent at. As a matter of fact, I do not think the Sixers have a player, other than Noel and Embiid, that should start in the NBA. That needs to be changed right away, and by adding another big man, they are ignoring those flaws. Hinkie would not be distributing the talent across the team in the manner that is necessary to be a championship contender in the NBA.
But if Karl Anthony-Towns Drops to Pick 3, He Must Be Taken
I know I have spent this entire piece talking about how stupid it would be to chose a big man, but if Karl Anthony-Town falls to pick number three, the Sixers must take him. The former Kentucky center is going to be a superstar in the NBA on both sides of the ball. His length (7’3 wingspan), IQ, and ability to spread the floor give him such a high ceiling on the offensive end. I remember watching him in his freshman year of high school pop three after three in a tournament and noticing his beautiful, picture perfect jump shot. His athleticism and length also give him the chance to be just as good on the other end of the court.
However, to sum up his game and potential in three sentences is unfair because the list of his strengths is endless. In other words, the New Jersey native is going to be a flat out fantastic player in the NBA during his career. To pass up on something like that, despite the situation the Sixers currently have, would be ignorant of the staff. At that point, Hinkie needs to select the best player on the board because of how good he is expected to be in his career. However, I do not know if I could be so confident about players like Jahlil Okafor or Willie Cauley-Stein to pass up on the positions that the Sixers really need to fill.
Picture courtesy of www.fayobserver.com