Report: Sixers interested in drafting Joel Embiid if he falls to them at No. 3

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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.