Some guys leave college because they will go as a high draft pick, but others are motivated because of what they see as an unstable situation at the university.
Meet Andre Drummond. The UConn big man is a lock top 5 pick, plus nobody is sure if Jim Calhoun will be back in the fall to coach a team that can’t participate in the 2013 NCAA tournament anyway due to missing the NCAA’s new academic standards.
DraftExpress has Drummond going No. 2 in the upcoming draft. At 6’10, 250 pounds, he would play center in the NBA. There is no question he has potential — he is long, athletic, mobile, just flat out athletically gifted. He understands the game and can rebound and play in the paint, plus has some midrange touch.
But those gifts are not always on display — he can be passive and seems to shy away from contact, according to scouts. The couple times I saw UConn this year, he seemed invisible for long stretches.
Big men with potential get drafted high and in this case the ceiling is very high, but Drummond is not without risk. Some guys blossom with the challenge of the NBA, others take a while to come around.
Joel Embiid on Monday will have an MRI on his injured left knee and is now listed as out indefinitely.
Embiid has been experiencing swelling and soreness in the left knee injury that has caused him to miss 16 out of the last 17 games. Bryan Colangelo announced back on Feb. 11 that Embiid has a minor meniscal tear. In his most recent press conference last Friday, Colangelo had targeted this Friday’s home game against the Knicks as a possibility for Embiid’s return. Now, that isn’t the case.
Embiid had been the biggest ray of hope for Philadelphia, but the 76ers shouldn’t chase watchability down the stretch. Sit Embiid until he’s fully healthy and secure the best draft position possible.
Maybe Embiid’s body just can’t handle the rigors of NBA basketball, but Philadelphia has no choice but to hope for the best with him and Simmons. And hope the nail the their first-round pick this year and get the Lakers’ first-rounder.
This could still be a dangerously good team in coming years. The Process created that potential.
But the threat of injury always looms around the corner, maybe especially so for Embiid.
Report: Knicks’ Joakim Noah likely to miss rest of season after knee surgery
Prepare for the talk next fall about Noah feeling refreshed and ready to help the Knicks.
But this surgery won’t reverse the underlying problem: Noah is a 31-year-old big man with heavy mileage. He can manage his knees, but it’s probably too late for him to regain enough athleticism to reliably contribute.
Just three years and $55 million+ remaining on his contract, which already looked like the NBA’s worst deal and is now even more unfavorable.
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