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Is Joel Embiid Too Much Of A Hassle For The Sixers?


Ever since the Philadelphia 76ers drafted center Joel Embiid, he’s been a bit of a hassle. Heck, before the Sixers even drafted Embiid, he had his first surgery on his left foot. Knowingly, the Sixers picked him up, in hopes that he was an investment for the team’s future.

At the time, the word future was regarding this season that is coming up in a few short months. If you’ve paid attention, though, you know that Embiid is not on track to play this season whatsoever. According to Sports Illustrated, Embiid is now on track for a return in October… Next October.

Now he’s gone through his second surgery on his navicular bone in his left foot, which didn’t completely heal.

Countless speculation, articles, news, and talk about the Sixers surrounds this player who has not ever seen an NBA court in a game situation. I can’t help but think that Embiid has caused the team more hassle than they bargained for. On one hand, they knew coming in that his foot was going to be a trouble, but no one was prepared for it to impact them for this long.

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With the current timeline featuring 2016 as the earliest he could be at full strength, I wouldn’t be surprised to see his debut pushed all the way to the second half of the season, in 2017.

And if we want to talk about a hassle, let’s look at a recent report on how many doctors were actually involved with the Embiid surgery. Keith Pompey reported that Embiid’s surgery required the work of five different doctors. Five doctors definitely seems like a lot for a small bone surgery.

I’ll flip that point on myself though, and acknowledge the fact that having so many doctors may finally solidify Embiid’s foot, as well as his future. Here’s a quote from Sam Hinkie, the general manager of the Philadelphia 76ers, regarding all the doctors involved:

"The goal was simple: Provide the best possible care for Joel to maximize his opportunity for a long and successful NBA career."

I’m constantly reminded — as is Pompey in his article — that big men such as Embiid often face challeneges with injuries that end careers. Embiid is seven feet tall. Yao Ming is a recent big man that just about everyone knows of, and his career was cut short by a trail of repeating navicular bone injuries.

I’ve also compared Greg Oden to Embiid. His career — that was supposed to be a big one — was overshadowed largely by repetitive injuries.

When is enough enough for the Sixers? If he sits out all of next season on top of this year, is it worth it to cut him? It would certainly free up some dead cash.

My point is that Embiid is quickly becoming the league’s biggest myth. Supposedly a great player, but one that’s never been seen playing in the NBA.

The Sixers do have an insurance policy regarding Embiid, but since they had full disclosure on his injury before they drafted him, they are currently unable to use it. It’s also excluded because he holds one of the Sixers’ top five contracts.

What is to be done? He is worth practically nothing in the trade market right now, even if he does have the potential to be a great player in the future. Teams won’t make a big move to get a player they’ve yet to see play in a game situation.

I’m not suggesting that they trade him as soon as he’s healthy, but the worry of another impending injury should be there. They’ve filled the need for a center with Jahlil Okafor, which leaves me comfortable with the possibility of Embiid getting traded once he’s healthy.

I wouldn’t put it past Sam Hinkie, to make a deal with him once he’s healthy.

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