The Cavaliers were widely expected to select Joel Embiid with the number one overall pick in the upcoming NBA Draft, until a foot injury and subsequent surgery threw Embiid’s value into question.
It’s unclear just how far Embiid might fall — Cleveland, for example, is reportedly eyeing Jabari Parker now with that top pick, and the Bucks at two are going to have a hard time passing on Andrew Wiggins if that’s the case.
But the Sixers are intrigued by Embiid, and will take a long look at selecting him if he’s still on the board when it’s time for them to pick at the number three slot.
The most interesting thing about this move, should things unfold like this, isn’t that Embiid’s stock would remain so high, even though he’d be expected to miss most if not all of the upcoming season. It’s that the Sixers would be fine pursuing the same strategy in consecutive seasons.
Last year saw the Sixers begin their rebuild in earnest by trading Jrue Holiday for the rights to Nerlens Noel on draft night, who, just like Embiid, was projected to go number one overall even after tearing his ACL during his lone season in college. He ended up falling to six, and that’s when Philadelphia pounced.
The Sixers chose to sit Noel for the entire season, even when he probably could have played a chunk of it — he himself said recently he’s been 100 percent “for months.” The team would presumably need to do the same with Embiid, but being only in year two of its stated three-five year rebuilding plan, that might work out just fine.
John Wall is one of the hardest players to guard in the NBA. J.R. Smith found that out the hard way on Tuesday night when Wall sent him flying with a behind-the-back dribble before making an easy layup.
The Wizards beat the Cavs, who are now 13-5 on the season.
Kobe Bryant‘s pregame tribute video stole the show in Philadelphia, but Tuesday night was Moses Malone tribute night. The former league MVP and Hall of Famer passed away in September, and his legacy was honored by the Sixers during a halftime ceremony. During the festivities, Malone’s son announced that his No. 2 will be retired by the organization next season.
There’s no question that Malone, one of the greatest players in the history of the sport, deserves to have his number retired. The only relevant question is: why didn’t this happen years ago? The ceremony next season should be good, but it would have been better if they had done it when Malone was alive to participate in it. No Sixers player has worn No. 2 since Malone anyway, but it’s been over 20 years since he last wore a Sixers jersey. Why couldn’t they have found some time in those two decades to have a ceremony and hang a banner?
Perhaps LeBron James‘ most underappreciated skill has been his passing. He is rightly hailed as the most unselfish superstar of his generation, but being a willing passer is only part of it: he’s also as good at it as any point guard in the league. Case in point: this two-handed halfcourt bounce pass on Tuesday night, finding Richard Jefferson for an easy dunk:
Kobe Bryant‘s relationship with his hometown of Philadelphia had its rocky sections — the Kobe’s Lakers beat the Sixers in the 2001 Finals, and then Kobe was booed during the 2002 All-Star Game — but all was forgiven on Tuesday night.
In his final trip to Philly, he was given a framed Lower Merion High School jersey — that’s Kobe’s school, in case you forgot — and it was presented by Dr. J.
Then the fans welcomed him like you see above.
That pumped up Kobe, who scored 13 first quarter points on 5-of-10 shooting, his best quarter of the season.