A foot injury to Joel Embiid has hurt his NBA draft stock so much that Flip Saunders, the head coach and President of Basketball Operations for the Minnesota Timberwolves, believes there’s a possibility he could be available at pick No. 13.
Timberwolves reporter Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune notes on Twitter that Saunders said he’ll working under the impression that Embiid, as well as European prospect Dario Saric, will be falling in the draft, possibly even to them.
Dr. Ben Wedro of MD direct recently discussed the severity of Embiid’s injury with Dan Feldman of Pro Basketball Talk:
"The navicular is located in the mid foot and is responsible for helping maintain the arch of the foot from heel to toe and transverse stability of the foot. It and the ligaments that attach to the mid foot to flex at the beginning of a stride and lock as the foot pushes off.They are responsible for taking the load of the weight of the body as it comes down an distributing it. So, when you’re 7-foot-whatever and 300 pounds [ed: Emiid’s listed weight was 250 pounds at Kansas], that takes more load than if you’re me and and 5-9, 160. It’s one of those things that happens unfortunately. I don’t know if we’re built to be 7 feet."
Saric agreed to a three-year contract with Anadolu Efes of the Turkish professional league on Monday, reports Chad Ford of ESPN.com.
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Teams may now be reluctant to use a lottery pick on a prospect who won’t be able to suit up for at least another year or two.