How different Joel Embiid’s career would have been if the Philadelphia 76ers didn’t draft him in 2014. ‘The Process’ was the third overall pick of the 2014 NBA draft, but we’ve learned he had different plans until Philly appeared.
In the beginning, JoJo believed he was going to be picked by the Cleveland Cavaliers with the first overall pick, but we all know how that story ended. Moreover, according to Yaron Weitzman of Bleacher Report, once he underwent surgery and the Cavs made it clear they weren’t going to pick him, Embiid made a decision on where he’d like to play in the NBA.
After the Cavs, the Milwaukee Bucks had the second pick of the night, but he didn’t want to play there because the city was ‘corny’, and the Bucks were already convinced they wanted Jabari Parker and nobody else. That said, he put his attention on one of the best franchises in the history of the league, the then-diminished Los Angeles Lakers.
“What he really wanted was to fall to the Lakers at No. 7. He'd been living in Los Angeles and grown comfortable in the city. "Work your magic," he told Tellem. Tellem knew there was no chance of Embiid plunging that far, so instead he and Nyam sold Embiid on Philadelphia. Tellem had grown up there. Nyam had moved there to play high school basketball. It took a bit, but Embiid bought in.”
Imagine how things would have been for Embiid and the Lakers if they actually drafted him. The Lakers ended up drafting a big man, but it was Julius Randle who landed in the Staples Center.
Embiid went to play for the Sixers, who had the third overall pick in 2014, forming a great duo with Ben Simmons when they both recovered from injuries. It would be crazy the things JoJo would be doing with LeBron James right now, but that’s something we won’t now.