Sports fans in the City of Brotherly Love are accustomed to being disappointed. Whether that be a Joe Carter World Series Home Run, a Patrick Kane Stanley Cup goal or Ronde Barber interception return for a touchdown.
All of the aforementioned difficulties are solidly in the rear view, but in the case of the Philadelphia 76ers, a loss of a potential franchise big man has been a continuing discouragement.
The recent news of Joel Embiid and his rebroken foot has put the center back on the shelf for the 2015-2016 season. it came as disheartening news for an eager team ready to make the next step and for an impatient fan-base who do not want to see another season of “tanking.”
Coming out of Kansas in the 2014 NBA draft, Embiid was projected as the number one pick and drew comparisons to hall of famer Hakeem Olajuwan.
But news of a broken foot dropped Embiid a couple of spots where the Sixers took him with the third pick.
The move Hinkie pulled was an extremely risky one, but after a full season of rehabilitation, many basketball specialists assumed Embiid, if healthy, would be the franchise center they have been waiting years for.
That if will remain a big if for now. The loss of Embiid hurts a rebuilding process that was putting the pieces in place. The thought process now is that potentially another big man has come and gone away for the Sixers.
For the past 25 years, the case can be made that a legitimate franchise center has not worn a Sixers uniform. Not since Moses Malone was traded away in 1986 to the disagreement of just about everyone.
During the 2000-2001 NBA Finals season, Dikembe Mutumbo was defensively stout and made the departure of the injured Theo Ratliff more forgettable. However, having to post-up against Shaq was difficult to watch as the Lakers won the Finals with ease.
That was the closest the Sixers got to not only winning a championship but crowning a center that could carry a franchise.
During the preseason of 2012, the Sixers participated in a four-team trade that included 2015 NBA Finals MVP Andre Igoudala. In return came Andrew Bynum, who averaged 19 points and 12 rebounds at the age of 24 for the Lakers a season before.
Bynum never saw the floor for the Sixers due to his ongoing knee injuries (one incident actually involved bowling).
Bynum’s failure to pan-out can be attributed, indirectly, as the start of the current era of Sixers futility.
Embiid is still seen as the future and according to a recent TMZ report, some speculate whether he is even hurt at all.
Nevertheless there is still hope for Embiid, and the Sixers hope to have the big man back some day paired with either Nerlens Noel or Jahlil Okafor. The optimistic view is the precaution will help the future. Only time will tell.