It has now been seven days since the Los Angeles Lakers last played an NBA game, with it being six days since the NBA was officially suspended following the positive COVID-19 (coronavirus) diagnosis of Utah Jazz center, Rudy Gobert. Still, if an NBA franchise is going to randomly pop up in the news it’s going to be the Los Angeles Lakers. With no NBA being played in March, you’re lucky to hear of anything regarding the NBA that isn’t at least indirectly related to the coronavirus. However, we get to get a little taste of news regarding the Lakers courtesy of a new book out regarding some interesting information regarding Philadelphia 76ers center, Joel Embiid.
The book is “Tanking to the Top: The Philadelphia 76ers and the Most Audacious Process in the History of Professional Sports” written by Yaron Weitzman of Bleacher Report. The book includes excerpts from Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, as well as former 76ers general manager, Sam Hinkie. As explained by Bleacher Report and Weitzman here, there was almost a hiccup in “The Process” that rebuilt the 76ers, as Joel Embiid was almost drafted by another team in many different types of theoretical scenarios. One of those scenarios included the Lakers, detailed by Weitzman in the following:
What he [Joel Embiid] 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.
Obviously in this situation, the Lakers truly didn’t have much of a change of drafting Joel Embiid given their spot in the draft order. Also, drafting Embiid wouldn’t have helped the Lakers at that point as they began their descent to the bottom of the NBA. Embiid missed the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons due to injuries, which would have made his Laker debut come in the 2016-17 season, the first without Kobe Bryant. Although the Lakers would have probably remained a bottom-three basketball team in Kobe’s final years, the Lakers would have had quite the piece to build around for the future, long before the arrivals of LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
Oh well, a Lakers fan currently in self-quarantine can dream, can’t he?