My first thought when I heard the news about Joel Embiid’s setback with his foot injury was “Of course.” It almost seams like Sixers fans have come to expect problems when it comes to players who are supposed to be a key to the franchise, most recently (and horrifically) Andrew Bynum. For the record, I am not comparing Joel Embiid to Andrew Bynum. Bynum was a man who held the game of basketball and our proud franchise beneath contempt. Joel Embiid is a promising prospect that has simply had some bad luck. Nonetheless, I can’t help but feel a sense of déjà vu. I’ll be the first to admit I jumped on the Embiid bandwagon this year when I saw him in warm ups, but I wasn’t thrilled with the decision to draft him. A center with little prior basketball experience and injuries is always a risky investment, regardless of the high ceiling. To be fair, the report doesn’t say anything definitive and this could all be speculation, but this at the minimum is a poor start.
If Embiid isn’t as good as advertised, it’ll set the franchise back five years. That is a fact. The Sixers’ rebuilding plan has been built around having a franchise player in the draft and other lottery players to compliment him. Even with a lottery this year, there is no guarantee that he will be able to be a franchise player. Missing on Embiid means that we find ourselves again searching for a player to build around, which means that we then need to find players to put around him, a very long process. Time will tell what happens with the Sixers, but the slogan “This Starts Now” may need to be changed for this year and used in 2020 instead.