Embiid says he'll be ready next season in more great Sixers news

Joel Embiid gets in some pre-game practice in 2015. (Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
Joel Embiid gets in some pre-game practice in 2015. (Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)

Tuesday was unquestionably a good night for the Philadelphia 76ers, who won the draft lottery to obtain the No. 1 pick after a 10-72 season. It's not clear if that reward will prove to be worth three years of unrepentant losing, but it at least validates a great deal of ex-GM Sam Hinkie's controversial plan and gives the franchise real hope for the future. Adding Ben Simmons or Brandon Ingram (or a mystery candidate) will give them a bright prospect with the chance to grow into stardom.

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The night got a whole lot better shortly after it was revealed that the Sixers had won the first pick. Barring any setbacks, Hinkie's highest-profile draft selection will be available to play his first game for the franchise when the 2016-17 season begins. After two seasons lost to foot injuries, center Joel Embiid says he will be ready and in uniform:

Embiid's announcement echoes a statement from head coach Brett Brown last week that put his on-court debut as "a strong belief." Embiid's tweet takes the anticipation to a new level, particularly given the likely debut of fellow 2014 first-rounder Dario Saric and the addition of the eventual top pick in the draft. Embiid's pretty happy about his new teammate, too:

That's a reference to a report that Embiid did not approach his rehabilitation process seriously and regularly consumed pitchers of Shirley Temples (Shirleys Temple?). No one ever said Embiid lacked a sense of humor.

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Embiid carried star potential at the time of his selection and was considered a excellent draft's top prospect before breaking his foot. However, there's no telling what two years away from high-level competition has done to his game, just as it's unknown if another injury is a few months away. For that matter, Brown said in March that Embiid will be under serious minutes restrictions upon his return and should be behind Jahlil Okafor and Nerlens Noel on the depth chart at center.

Whatever. Sixers fans deserve to get excited about something, and Embiid has as much potential as anyone on the roster. His return is great news for a franchise that needs as many talented players as it can get. Here's hoping he won't be off the court again for some time once he debuts.

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Eric Freeman is a writer for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at efreeman_ysports@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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