Sixers’ Joel Embiid reacts to Zhaire Smith’s fractured foot
— Joel Embiid (@JoelEmbiid) August 7, 2018
Embiid is calling this a curse, and he might not be far off on that. Last season, Markelle Fultz missed a solid chunk of the season. Although his issues were more ambiguous than a typical injury, he only appeared in 14 games.
Ben Simmons missed the entire 2016-17 season with a Jones fracture. Coincidentally, Smith also suffered a Jones fracture, but it’s unclear how long he’ll be out next season.
Embiid himself missed the entire 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons after injuries caused the organization to exercise caution with their outspoken big man. Even in his rookie season (2016-17), Embiid only appeared in 31 games.
In fact, the only recent Sixers first-round pick to play significant minutes in the same year he was drafted was Jahlil Okafor. Ironically, that’s the draft pick that looks like the biggest bust at this point.
Even Landry Shamet (26th pick of the 2018 draft) was sidelined after spraining his ankle in the Las Vegas Summer League. There must be something in the water in Philly, because all their first-round guys seem to get hurt.
On the bright side, the organization’s caution with their young talent seems to be paying off. The team’s patience with Embiid and Simmons resulted in an All-Star and Rookie of the Year, respectively. Fultz still has much to prove, but he’s by no means a lost cause.
Sure, Embiid may be on to something when he brings up a possible curse, but there’s no doubt things could be worse.