Joel Embiid gone for 164, Jahlil Okafor and Nerlens Noel must step up

Joel Embiid gone for 164, Jahlil Okafor and Nerlens Noel must step up
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Joel Embiid could one day become the first player in NBA history to miss the entire first two seasons of his pro career and reach the Hall of Fame. But the odds are about as slim as Nerlens Noel.

Sixers general manager Sam Hinkie announced this past weekend that the third overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft would likely miss the 2015-16 season after he just spent the entire 2014-15 season on the shelf.

“We have been consistent in our philosophy that our focus will be Joel’s long-term health and wellness to ensure he will have a long and impactful career in the NBA,” Hinkie said in a statement. “After receiving the input of medical experts, as well as conversations with Joel and his representatives, there was careful consideration given to a number of options related to this particular situation. A collective decision has been made that the best approach to promote full healing would be to proceed with a bone graft of the fracture site. We anticipate the procedure will take place in the next seven-to-10 days and result in Joel missing the upcoming season.”

This will actually be the third time in three years that a top Sixers draft pick has missed a full season as Noel missed the entire 2013-14 season with a knee injury.

With Embiid still hurting, much will be expected from Noel and this year’s first round pick – Jahlil Okafor. Both have shown the ability to carry the load as Noel recorded 18 double-doubles (points and rebounds) this past season and Okafor has been brilliant in Summer League play this past week. Against the Lakers, who had a chance to select Okafor in the draft, the big man scored 19 points, pulled down 11 rebounds and had three assists – leading Philly in all three categories.