Could foot injury drop Joel Embiid into Lakers range at 7th pick?

Could foot injury drop Joel Embiid into Lakers range at 7th pick?
Kansas center Joel Embiid is expected to be one of the top picks of the 2014 NBA draft, but a foot injury could drop him into the Lakers' range at seven. (Rich Sugg / McClatchy-Tribune)

Kansas center Joel Embiid will have surgery Friday after suffering a stress fracture in his right foot.

Embiid was projected to be a top-three NBA draft pick, if not first overall to the Cleveland Cavaliers. The freshman 7-foot center also sat out the NCAA tournament because of a stress fracture in his back.

Duke's Jabari Parker, Kansas' Andrew Wiggins and Australian guard Dante Exum could displace Embiid in the draft -- the question relating to the Lakers, will Embiid drop to seven?

The Lakers finished the 2013-14 season with the sixth-worst overall record at 27-55, but fell a spot in May's draft lottery to seventh.

Would the Lakers be able to pass on a player who could develop into the next Hakeem Olajuwon, assuming he's able to get past both the foot and back injuries?

Through 28 games with the Jayhawks, Embiid averaged 11.2 points, 8.1 rebounds and 2.6 blocks a game.

The Lakers are bringing in Arizona's Aaron Gordon, Oklahoma State's Marcus Smart and Louisiana Lafayette's Elfrid Payton for second workouts Friday. They'll also get a look at Michigan's Nik Stauskas and D-League Texas Legends' P.J. Hairston.

The team has also worked out Kentucky's Julius Randle, Creighton's Doug McDermott, Syracuse's Tyler Ennis, UCLA's Zach LaVine, Kentucky's James Young and Indiana's Noah Vonleh, among others.

At seven, the Lakers were probably looking at a choice among Gordon, Randle, Smart or Vonleh -- but the Embiid injury could lead to a more difficult decision.

The 20-year-old Embiid fractured the navicular bone in his foot, a delicate injury -- especially for a big man in the NBA. Former Houston Rockets center Yao Ming's career was shortened because of a similar injury.

The NBA draft is June 26 in New York.

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