I don’t know what’s more popular, Joel Embiid or his back. Before his stress fracture injury which caused Embiid to miss the NCAA Tournament, he was the closest thing to a lock for the No. 1 spot in the 2014 NBA Draft. Now with the draft coming up later this month, the only remaining question — one Bill Simmons appeared to answer — is if there are any medical red flags that will be raised about his back.
The mystery surrounding Embiid’s back wasn’t helped when his agent, Arn Tellem, refused to release his medical records, either, but his health is the biggest obstacle in the way of going with the first pick in next month’s draft.
With the careers of centers like Greg Oden and Andrew Bynum derailed after their bodies started to break down, there is always a certain level of risk with taking a prized center in the NBA Draft. Big men put added pressure on their knees and backs and as a result the health of the NBA’s monsters in the middle is always a tenuous proposition.
Embiid is in this category, but he possesses a once-in-a-generation talent that’s hard to pass up. If there are no medical red flags, he could be the unanimous No. 1 selection.
Joel Embiid didn’t appear at the combine in Chicago; however, he did partake in a private workout in Santa Monica over the weekend. The general public wasn’t allowed in, but CityLeagueHoopsTV caught exclusive footage of his workout. You need to watch this video because Embiid looks as close to perfect as it gets — at least in terms of a non-competitive workout.
Watching Joel Embiid in workout for league executives in Santa Monica. Impossible to imagine passing on him at No. 1.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) May 23, 2014
Besides the array of hook shots and rim-shaking dunks with both hands, Embiid hit a number of step-back jumpers that were as sweet as bowl of ice cream. It’s insane he’s only been playing basketball for four years. He can tear the rim down on a dunk, but also has a gentle touch around the rim. From this workout, Embiid certainly looks like a sure-fire star at the next level, but only time will tell whether his body hold up for the long haul.
Will Joel Embiid become an NBA All-Star?
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