Embiid Grateful for On-Stage Assignment
If there were any doubts about the significance of Joel Embiid assuming the seat behind the Sixers’ podium on the draft lottery dais Tuesday night, Bryan Colangelo summed up the situation pretty clearly following the event, calling the Rookie of the Year candidate “the face of the organization.”
True, Embiid has appeared in just 31 games through his first three seasons with the team; however, based on his captivating efforts during the 2016-2017 campaign, and the mutually affectionate connection he’s managed to create with Sixers supporters, disputing Colangelo’s statement would be a difficult task.
Between his distinct, stylish garb…
…and playful on-stage presence…
…Embiid seemed to appreciate having the opportunity to represent at the lottery the franchise, his teammates, and, above all, Sixers fans.
“It’s exciting,” said Embiid Tuesday inside the Grand Ballroom of the New York Hilton Midtown hotel. “You know I love Philly, and they show me so much love. Hopefully I get to do this again, because I had a lot of fun being on TV and representing the team.”
As for the latest on his health, Embiid indicated he’s on a positive path. The center underwent meniscus surgery on his left knee on March 24th.
“It’s going great,” Embiid said of his rehab. “Every day I go in there [Sixers’ training complex], I got stuff to do.”
A Bullish Outlook
In the immediate aftermath of Tuesday’s lottery, Joel Embiid expressed an emphatically auspicious view for the Sixers’ future, both in the here and now, and for later down the road.
As for whom the club might be able to pluck with the third overall pick June 22nd, Embiid was enthused by the possibilities.
“I think the top two guards are [Markelle] Fultz and [Lonzo] Ball, going number one and two,” Embiid prognosticated. “I like Josh Jackson a lot or Jayson Tatum, so I expect one of those guys to be there at number three.”
Jackson, like Embiid a Kansas product, and Tatum are widely viewed as the premiere wing players available this year. The draft also boasts several enticing backcourt prospects, such as former Kentucky teammates De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk.
Fultz, Jackson, Tatum, Fox, and Monk were among the dozen or so projected lottery picks who attended Tuesday’s lottery.
“I’m excited,” said Embiid, who mingled with a few of the players throughout the evening. “We jumped up [two spots in the draft order]. I wish we would have gotten the number one pick, but we’re trusting the process. It’s going to be exciting to see who we will draft.”
The combination of incoming talent that the Sixers are now positioned to acquire this off-season, plus the already-promising nucleus that the team has in place prompted Embiid to set a high bar.
“I think we’re building up at the right time,” he said, “so when it’s all said and done, we will be mature and ready to compete for a championship. We will be ready.”
Best available player? Best roster fit?
These questions are typically the norm for professional sports teams that hold picks towards the top of any given draft.
Bryan Colangelo shared his thoughts on the matter Tuesday evening, following the lottery.
“People are saying is it only about need, is it only about talent,” said the Sixers President of Basketball Operations. “I think it’s a combination of both.”
“Need is certainly, and fit is certainly going to factor into a larger degree than maybe in the past,” he added. “We’re excited about having that clarity.”
Check back later for additional entries to today’s Notebook.