Joel Embiid’s back troubles have been all the talk this last week as several sources combat over his health. Some say the Cleveland Cavaliers are set to pass on him due to the lack of doctor’s clearances while others think the release of that news was the smokescreen method Cleveland often deplores during draft time.
But according to Terry Pluto of the Plain Dealer who had a chance to witness Embiid work out for the Cavaliers, Embiid’s back doesn’t warrant any red flags at the moment.
I think the Hakeem Olajuwon comparison was rather silly. The guy is a Hall of Famer.
Can Embiid develop into a center who makes an impact in the NBA, especially with his shot blocking and rebounding ability? Absolutely. The big issue is his back. He had a thorough physical with the Cavs. There are some concerns, but apparently no red flags. They will continue to look at his medical history, etc.
The precautions surrounding a possible Embiid drafting are all fair. While he’s nothing similar to Greg Oden, especially in terms of injury history, nobody wants to be the team that passes up a potential elite wing (Wiggins, Parker) for a potential elite big man whose career could suffer because of injury.
But when you look at Embiid’s potential ceiling–some are comparing his skill set to that of Hakeem Olajuwon, take that for what it’s worth–you see why teams are doing all they can to figure out if he’s worth the risk.