Odds of Embiid Staying?

  • Perhaps higher than we all think. Recent history and common sense would dictate 95% plus confidence in Joel leaving. And he very well might. As Jay Bilas was talking during the OU game about his opinion that Joel should stay another year (or two I think he actually said) I sarcastically laughed and said “yeah, right.” But something he said after that caught my attention. I believe he said that Joel has been gathering the opinion of professional big men who he respects and they’ve been suggesting too that he stay a little longer. Bilas’ take is that Embiid is “the real deal.” He doesn’t have to strike while the iron is hot; or fool anybody with a stat-inflated flash-in-the-pan year. He will get the benefit of the doubt from GM’s even next year if he stalls out and is not showing progress because he has all the physical tools he needs to succeed.

    Other factors include his culture as well as his personal/family situation. He is not in a position where his family is in financial dire straits and need him to be the bread winner. In fact his father, The Colonel, whom we can infer values structure and discipline, may very well approach his development looking at the big picture and realize that a year of getting bigger and stronger won’t necessarily improve his draft stock, but will better prepare him for the NBA.

    Look. I’m under no illusion that he’s staying. I don’t think it’s probable. I don’t think it’s likely. Chad Ford reported last night that in something like 13 out of 14 scenarios Embiid would be the first pick overall. With injuries to consider, I would not blame him one bit for going. Shoot, I’d go. I guess the point of this post is to suggest its not a done deal and he may actually be considering staying more than I thought he would. What are the odds of Embiid leaving? After consideration of these points, my heart says 50%. My head says 94%.

  • I don’t know that I could put a number on it, and like you, my gut tells me he is leaning more to staying now than everyone pushing him out earlier this season. I would like to see him get the most of his experience at KU. His quote about “shouldn’t he learn to drive first” was telling. Also, Jay Bilas was right when he said he needed to get his hands stronger. Joel, luckily, is in a position not many kids these days are in when it comes to the financial part. I think his father would welcome the additional year of classes/school/learning.

  • I don’t see any advantage in Embiid’s leaving before being close to ready. He has such a high ceiling and with another year in Coach Self’s system, he will be much stronger, and simply get so much better. One argument might be by leaving a year late, he will make 3 mil less. But over a ten year pro career, 3 mil is relatively little, something like 100 mil vs 103 mil. Another might be the fact that athletes get hurt while in college and might be able to go to the league. But with Embiid’s ceiling, he’d be drafted even after being injured. And with today’s medical technology, a broken ACL doesn’t have as significant impact to the athletes’ performance as it used to. As much as it hurt Manning, Manning still had a very good pro career. The difference in timing of an injury in college vs. during the first 3 years in the league might mean being able to play as a role player for 10 years after injury vs. struggling as a free agent if getting injured while learning the ropes in the league as a rookie. See Henry as an example. With another year of conditioning without the grind in the pros, he might reduce the chance of being hurt as a rookie.

    So I don’t see any advantage in leaving after 1 year. And there is much to gain for Embiid than lose by staying for another year.

  • Even a better reason to sign Turner… if Embiid stays!

    If Self and his staff can convince Turner to come into college on a two-year plan, then his best option is to come be a Jayhawk and spend a full year of going head to head with Embiid.

    Imagine him coming in, going right into Hudy training… then battling Embiid to improve his skills. And for his first year there is no pressure on him in games. He comes in off the bench for Embiid, and sometimes we could even play a big lineup with twin towers.

    Then Embiid leaves after two years and Turner has a year of owning the lane at KU. The scouts will never leave their seats from the Embiid years, and Turner will have the two years of strength training he needs before entering the No Boys Allowed league.

    What a plan! Having both bigs at the same time would be awesome for both. Name a single NBA scout who would miss an opportunity to see both of these premiere bigs playing in the same game?

    KU would benefit with 3 years of big man basketball!

  • @drgnslayr I like your thinking, but I don’t see it happening. The odds are that Turner envisions himself OAD (or at least that potential) and that he is not going to want to share the post with Embiid. Obviously I can’t pretend to know what the young man is thinking, though.

  • Ok. I’m an idiot. I just realized the percentage odds I quoted in my initial post were intended to be odds he would** leave **. Not stay. I corrected it but wanted to own up to it for those who already read it and posted on it.

  • @JayDocMD I think he stays, and until I see otherwise, I’ll continue to believe that. Kids got a good head on his shoulders, he wants to improve, and he may not be satisfied with his level of play by seasons end, in which case he sticks around another year to get better. Kind of like Marcus Smart did last year

  • @JayDocMD I also don’t necessarily believe we need Turner. In speculation of next years line up, We’d get Naadir, Oubre/Selden, Ellis, Alexander,Embiid. I realize The Designer isn’t a 3 man this year but if Coach Self wanted him to start then he would HAVE to consider sliding him down one spot.
    Think about that for one second, just think. I mean, That line up!? Its insane. Easily the best KU will have fielded since ever. I mean the NCAA can just give KU the title in 2015, game over, We’d like to thank everyone who lost. And by no means am I discounting this years team out of any potential run to the final four when I say this. I still like this years Jayhawks. Fans like us appreciate every team we get.

  • I also don’t necessarily believe we need Turner.

    True, IF Embiid stays. If he goes, Turner would be much more of a necessity.

  • @JayDocMD I am 99% certain he stays another year. It’s a gut feeling, but I think he loves all of it. He loves the jokes, the laughter, the challenge of learning, etc. Notice his comportment versus AW and Selden. I mean, last game we saw Selden smile for the first time all season. I’m not sure we’ve seen Wigs smile yet. Embiid is eating this up. It reminds me of the little girl on the ATT commercial who says, “we want more, we want more”. He wants more! He wants more!!! As for Miles Turner, I would take Embiid any day of the week if I had my druthers. My guess is 99% he stays.

  • Jay Bilas’ theorizing on Embiid, much like his NCAA rants, are missing key pieces of logic.

    Don’t get me wrong. I selfishly want Embiid to stay. I will be more than entertained watching coach Self try to tell Cliff Alexander that he’ll have to come off the bench. And if Embiid stays, we are perhaps the presumptive #1. But now, back to reality.

    Bilas believes that because Embiid is the “real deal”, he should be more likely to stay.

    The opposite should actually be true.

    If you are the “real deal”, by staying, all you are really doing is risking your career. The “real deal” is going to make it in the NBA. The “real deal” is going to have a career regardless of his college body of work. The “real deal” is the the elite of the elite.

    As the “real deal”, you should not be so concerned with what college does for you. As the “real deal”, you should be more concerned with what college does to you. Sure, college could make him better … no doubt. But it is simply weighing the risks, based on where you are.

    The injury risk is not limited to ACLs. Micro-fractures (Greg Oden), stress fractures (Sam Bowie), backs (Mitch McGary), dislocations (Sean Livingston), broken legs (Kevin Ware), outside issues like motorcycle accidents (Jay Williams) or auto accidents (Bobby Hurley). Use your imagination.

    As the “real deal”, he’s a top 5 pick. His first contract will set him for life. If he is prone to a certain type of injury, such as some degenerative condition in his back that is undiagnosed, it may arise as he plays more. That could possibly arise in a second season at KU.

    Look at Marcus Smart. What has he gained? Do we think that he has lengthened is NBA career by staying? He’s the “real deal.” All he did was run the risk of injury and lower his draft position. If he raises it, he goes from say #6 to #3.

    Contrast that to Wayne Selden. He definitely should stay. Why? He would be in the latter part of first round at best. But with a year or two extra, he then could realistically move into the high first round. But more importantly, a guy like Selden could really develop in college, thus adding to his career. Couple that with not being a high first round pick, you have your answer.

    Could Embiid make his career in the NBA better by staying? Sure. But when you’re a top 5 pick, the risk outweighs the reward.

  • @HighEliteMajor I agree, but there is one factor specific to Embiid: his newness to basketball and American culture in general. Another year in college could help him more than it would Smart or many other players.

    How much should that factor count? No idea.

    How much does it count in Embiid’s mind? Seems like psychologically he’s in no rush to go pro, unlike Wiggins.

  • I don’t really care if Bilas thinks he’s the “real deal”. If Embiid believes he will develop into a better player by staying another year at Kansas then he should do so. Don’t leave prematurely for the NBA draft because you’re afraid of injury. I hate that mentality. Don’t plan on being injured, do what’s best for your development so that when you get to the NBA you can stay there. I think Embiid could one day be a very good player in the NBA, but it’s far from guaranteed at this point. Right now he’s not even close to a finished product and his high draft status is mostly based on potential. Don’t stunt your growth because people are telling you that you’re going to be an awesome player.

  • I believe there many advantages in staying until close to ready over leaving after one season. I understand Olajuwon belonged to a different era, but I believe it was because he stayed in school until he was ready, he dominated the first day he stepped onto the NBA floor. Had he come out after one year, he might have been another Kwame Brown or Tyson Chandler. And I believe the chances of getting an injury is equal or less while in college. Why less, it is because he will gain strength over the year in college without the grind of the long NBA season. He will mature without the pressure of being a big boy in the NBA. In college, he will grow up with his peers, but in the league very quickly while all the o’ boys try to push him down. Nick Collison had a few very interesting things to say about that http://www.gq.com/about/nick-collison. If he gets injured in the NBA, he might have to rush back into action before ready. Just imagine how much does the coach of a bottom team in the NBA want to push his star signing to perform? Look at Yao Ming’s career, how much injury he endured and how he rushed back before ready. In college he will be protected by the coaches. I have absolute confidence that Coach Self treats him like his own son and would not take the unnecessary risks with him.

    I agree going after an jury in college may lower the earning potential. But the difference might not matter in the end. So why not going when close to being ready? The difference might be between the rock of the team vs. some also runs.

  • I think we are a month (at least) premature in debating this question. Among our five current starters, Joel appears to be the least mature in thought and action. He DOES progress quickly in his specific physical adjustment to the game of basketball; and I foresee his freshman year at KU leading to accelerated growth in other areas. I would imagine that his ejection from the K State contest cast him into swirls of mixed emotions and self analysis. Evidently, he has played enough competitive action in other sporting endeavors to have given him a decent handle on the give and take necessary to rough play; however, the specificity of inneractions in the game of basketball is still very new to him. He is cast into the swirl of consequential phenomena, assessing reactions of coaches, officials, teammates, professional evaluators, fans, media and opposing players. Then there lies the process of Hudyization to consider, whether to step away from offerings of Jayhawk training (and coaching) expertise in midstream, before approaching anything near maximum or even superior growth and development…

  • @HighEliteMajor, regarding Bilas’ thoughts on the “real deal” staying another year in college:

    1. Is the risk of injury any different in college or the NBA?

    2. Do raw players with high potential develop faster by sitting on the bench in the NBA or playing in college?

    Bilas’ suggestion was pretenders should go, and the real deals should stay. I don’t know if he’s right, but I find the idea intriguing. I’m sure we could calculate the probability of suffering a career-ending injury in the first year of an NBA contract (as a proportion of all players in the past 20 years whose career ended due to injury in that first year). It surely happens, but I suspect the probability is not that high.

    Then the question is, how much better can he get with a second year under Self’s tutelage? We’ve seen how much he’s improved already in half a season. Imagine the dominant player he could become in the NCAA in year 2. The following year he could dominate immediately in the NBA, likely sooner than if he’d ridden the bench next year, and likely have a longer, more dominant career.

  • Risk is a function of two things.

    1. The probability of a bad thing happening.

    2. The consequences of that bad thing happening.

    Some people put more weight on one than the other in their assessment of risk. E.g., the probability of successfully crossing a balance beam should be the same if it’s 2 feet off the ground or 200 feet. But the consequences of falling are different. Personally, I weigh probability higher when evaluating risk, whereas my wife puts a greater emphasis on the consequences (especially of my stupid behaviors).

    The financial consequences a career-ending injury for Embiid’s family appear different than the consequences for, say, McLemore’s family. That could affect their assessment of risk.

  • Excellent analysis REHawk, the young giant is certainly caught up in a cyclone of emotional decision making. On one hand he must ride the waves of destiny, on the other he can paddle against the current towards an island of familiarity. We know he has been researching success of big men of the past. He is told he is number one, yet he just watched the Miracles and Danny’s father telling him he was not ready. My opinion, because it is important to me. Young man you have a loving foster family here. Rest, clear your mind, get stronger, learn, and most of all have some fun. Bill, listen to me. Let Joel play some pick up soccer, let him swat some volleyballs, throw him in the pool to strengthen his joints. Then remind him to report to mother Hudy for strength training. Then you can go play with the old men at big man camp. " Enjoy the process".

  • I am curious about the insurance factors surrounding NCAA allowances for sure-fire lottery picks who choose to remain in college. Does the NCAA itself pay the premiums, or would Kansas foot the bill? What is the max amount allowable? Is such insurance only for career-ending injury, or for lesser injurious setbacks which might delay or devalue projected pro earnings?

  • @REHawk, they can get a maximum policy of $5 million through a program known as Exceptional Student-Athlete Disability Insurance (ESDI) that the NCAA provides student-athletes it predicts will likely be high draft picks.

    The premiums for the NCAA’s ESDI program, which has existed since 1990, vary by sport, position, and preexisting injuries, but cost upwards of $40,000. It’s available to players projected as draft picks in the first three rounds for the NFL and NHL, and first-rounders for the NBA, MLB and, most recently, the WNBA. Between 100 and 120 athletes participate per season, a number that has stayed constant in recent years, according to the NCAA.

    They can also get private insurance, with higher maximum payouts, that have fewer restrictions than the NCAA’s but can cost more.

    Students have to pay the premiums themselves, but they can get an automatic low-interest loan for the premium where payment is not due until the student-athlete either signs a pro contract, the benefits are dispersed due to a catastrophic injury, or the policy expires (usually when the student leaves school).

    All above info from this informative article: [http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2013/04/the-5-million-question-should-college-athletes-buy-disability-insurance/274915/](link url)

  • Should student-athletes with high earning potential get such a policy? The article I cited above provides additional information.

    These policies, meant to hedge against risk, are risky in themselves: None of these student-athletes is likely to ever collect a dime, even if they are hurt. These guarantees cover “permanent total disability,” meaning only policyholders who are never able set foot on a field or court again—not simply those who suffer injuries that may reduce their earning potential—can file a claim.

    Of the thousands of policies bought over the years, virtually no college athlete has successfully filed a disability insurance claim. In the last 15 years, only one player is publicly known to have benefited from this kind of coverage: former University of Florida defensive tackle Ed Chester, who was projected to be a first-round NFL draft pick in 1998 before blowing out his knee after returning as a senior. He never played again, collecting $1 million on a private policy that was obtained for $8,000.

    As medical technology has advanced, there’s a lot of good rehab facilities and procedures out there that, except for the most dire of injuries, most of the time you can come back from it.

    So based on my discussion of risk above, if your risk assessment emphasizes probability, such a policy probably isn’t worth it. If your risk assessment emphasizes consequences and you come from a family of means, such a policy also probably isn’t worth it but you can still afford it if you want. If your family does not have much wealth, it seems the policy could just add to your debt burden.

    I think I just convinced myself that these policies aren’t worth it. Thanks to @REHawk and @HighEliteMajor for prompting me to look into it. I think I learned something.

    Should Embiid stay anyway? I don’t have a clue! From my selfish perspective I hope he does.

  • @tundrahok Muchas gracias for the info.

  • A quick update on this Embiid staying topic with kusports.com link and pertinent quote below. Adds further hope to those of us thinking his odds of staying are higher than one might think:

    "Due diligence: KU’s Joel Embiid, who is projected by some to be No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft, told ESPN.com he’s been researching the careers of some great NBA centers and noticed they stayed in college more than one year. Tim Duncan stayed four at Wake Forest, Hakeem Olajuwon three at Houston and Shaquille O’Neal two at LSU before turning pro.

    “I was curious because I want to be great, I want to be the best at my position one day,” he told ESPN.com. “I’m trying to learn everything and what other people did. All of the great big men went to college at least two or three years. I think it’s a big factor. I don’t know if it will always work, but I think it’s the best choice.”

    Of the NBA, he told ESPN: “I don’t know. I think it would be too overwhelming for me right now. I’m not sure I’m ready.”

    Earlier in the season, he told the Journal-World: “I am not thinking about the NBA right now. I just want to get better and play and reach something this year. If I get the chance and think I’m ready, I might do that (go pro). I don’t really think about that. When I signed for Kansas, I didn’t have any idea I’d go NBA. In my mind, I always thought four years, getting my degree. My parents want me to get my degree. Luc (Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, NBA player who advises Embiid) does,” added Embiid, who said he was planning on majoring in something business related.

    Self recently said on his Hawk Talk radio show Embiid has yet to learn how to drive a car. Embiid told ESPN that was still the case."


  • @JayDocMD

    Unfortunately times have changed. In today’s environment, Duncan Olajuwon and particularly Shaq are all one and done. Jabbar and Walton also stayed in College 4 years but they certainly would be one and done as well. Even Jordan stayed in college 3 years even when he was named Freshman of the year and was a unanimous first team All-American in his sophomore and junior years. Different times.

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