Sixers could end up taking Joel Embiid with No. 3 pick in 2014 NBA Draft

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The injured Kansas big man could still end up a top-three selection come Thursday night.

Philadelphia still has the No. 3 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, and center Joel Embiid could be the Sixers' selection if he is available, according to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski.

Why this makes sense

Embiid is one of the most talented players at the center position in some time. His combination of hands, passing, vision, length and feel for the game made him a star at Kansas and makes him one of the best high-potential picks in the loaded 2014 NBA Draft.

Philadelphia in particular seems to stand out as a team willing to take on the issues of an injured big man with potential. Last year, the Sixers swapped for Nerlens Noel even after it was known the Kentucky center would be out for his rookie season with an ACL injury.

Putting Embiid and Noel next to each other is a recipe for blocked shots and rebounds, not to mention the fact that both have offensive talents in their own right. The right pairing of dominant big men throughout history -- whether it's David Robinson and Tim Duncan, or Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol -- might be too much for GM Sam Hinkie to pass up.

Why this doesn't make sense

Embiid broke the navicular bone in his right foot, and the prognosis for NBA big men isn't exactly stellar. Poor blood flow and structural integrity are two mitigating factors that might make Embiid's injury too much to handle (or gamble on).

Philadelphia is in the middle of a rebuilding period, but as we've seen, a top-five selection isn't something that's guaranteed just because of a poor record. For Hinkie or any general manager, getting the big first-round pick correct is something that not only helps their team, but helps them keep their job.

Embiid might be a generational talent at the center position, but he could also be another entry into the long line of NBA big men with chronic injury issues. Greg Oden finished the season in the Finals, to be sure, though he was glued to the end of Miami's bench. This could simply be too risky for the Sixers.

Likelihood it happens

We've been hearing all day that the Sixers are actually trying to move up to take Andrew Wiggins. If that doesn't happen and Wiggins is off the board, this becomes a real possibility. Wiggins and Parker are all but sure to go 1-2, and we've not heard anything about Embiid going higher than No. 3 since word of his injury came out last week. I'll give it a 6/10 chance of happening since the draft is just too wild to predict. Grade: B

Update at 5:48 p.m. EST: Wojnarowski is now reporting that the Sixers are no longer pursuing a trade with Cleveland for the No. 1 pick. This could solidify Embiid at No. 3.

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