Grant Hill dealt with numerous ankle issues throughout his NBA career, so if anyone knows about foot ailments and how debilitating they can be, it’s him.
And that’s why Hill – a seven-time All-Star – is conflicted about Joel Embiid’s draft status heading into Thursday.
“That’s tough,” the NBA-TV analyst said on The Damon Amendolara Show. “I feel bad for the kid and I know he hasn’t played a lot of basketball. He’s a young kid. I mean, I had my injuries – my ankle ordeal, if you will – and I was already six years into the NBA (and had) four years in college. So I had a good 10-year run where I was pretty healthy. I was able to at least deal with that and overcome it and come back and still be somewhat productive.
“But for him, he’s got a lot of basketball in front of him, and to have to deal with this is tough,” Hill continued. “I know all the teams are going to take a hard look at him and go through and check everything. I would think the two are related. Whatever was causing the back problem was also causing, potentially, the foot problem.”
“One thing that I’ve learned – not that I’m an expert in any shape or form – but the body is all connected. When one thing goes off, it usually sets something else off. Hopefully whoever takes him can get to the root of the cause of the problem and help him deal with that and overcome that – because I think the kid has tremendous potential and great upside. But you’d hate to have him injured even before he has an opportunity to suit up as a professional.”
“So I know in the day and age we’re in, everybody’s looking at everything – X-rays, MRIs, evaluations, looking at the body and seeing if there’s imbalances there. He could slide. He could fall into somebody’s lap and be a big surprise as a lower pick. But he also could be someone that you take high and ends up like a Greg Oden. And so, it’s really the great unknown, and ultimately, we’ll all have to wait and see how it all plays out.”
Hill believes that Jabari Parker is the best prospect in this year’s draft and should be taken first overall by Cleveland.
“I’ll be honest with you: It’s hard for me to be objective entirely,” said Hill, a Duke grad, “but I do like what I saw from him this past season. Certainly we had an unfortunate exit early in tournament, (so) we didn’t get a chance to see him continue on that stage. But I have seen him since then, interviewed him, saw a couple of his workouts out in Los Angeles, and it just sort of confirmed my belief.”
“In terms of coming into the NBA and making an impact right away, I think he has the best opportunity to do that with his skill set and his talent level,” Hill continued. “He’s a mature kid. He’s a talented kid. He’s not somebody who’s full of himself. I think he’s a guy whose game will translate well to the next level. He’s a matchup nightmare with his talent level, his ability to score. And depending on where he goes and how he’s used, I think there’s more to his game than just scoring. I think he can be an assist guy, a playmaker kind of guy. I’m excited to see how his game translates and plays out at the next level.”