Continuing our new NBA Front Office franchise, Tom Penn (general manager), George Karl (head coach), Chad Ford (assistant GM), Amin Elhassan (scouting director) and Kevin Pelton (analytics director) simulate a conversation that an actual front office might have. Today they take over the Cleveland Cavaliers and debate who the Cavs should take with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft. On Thursday the NBA Front Office will tackle what Milwaukee should do with the No. 2 pick. Join the conversation at #NBAFrontOffice!
Tom Penn: OK guys, let's start right away with Joel Embiid and his last-minute injury. Chad, give us a lay of the land of what we know and how this affects him for Cleveland. He was No. 1 on our board, but how do we view him now?
Chad Ford: Obviously this is a major red flag. He's injured the navicular bone in his right foot. He had two screws placed in his foot last Friday. Doctors are saying that it's anywhere from four to six months for the bone to heal, and up to nine to 12 months before he can get back on the court and be healthy again. History of big men who have had this issue has not been pretty, whether that's Yao Ming, for example, or Bill Walton, whose careers were cut short by foot injuries. Then there are players such as Zydrunas Ilgauskas, who suffered the injury and still had a long NBA career. So I think there's still a good chance that he could be a very good player in the league, but there's almost no chance that he's going to be playing in the NBA this year. But Kevin could speak more about this.
Kevin Pelton: Actually, what I found really made me very pessimistic about Embiid's future because if you look at the big men who have suffered this injury in the past, other than Brendan Haywood, who had this last year and missed the entire season because of it, Kevin McHale is the only other guy out of that group who has not had some kind of recurrence or missed time in multiple seasons because of it. So I think you have to assume that it's more than just taking him out for next year; that it's also something that could be a problem going forward. And that, to me, drops him substantially in my rankings.
Penn: Coach, do you have any history with players who have suffered foot injuries?