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The class includes three heralded rookies — Joel Embiid, Dario Saric and Ben Simmons — that will suit up for the Philadelphia 76ers. Embiid could have been the No. 1 pick in 2014, Simmons was the No. 1 pick this year, and Saric comes with experience in Europe. But none of the three are the pick for Kia Rookie of the Year, according to their classmates. Instead, it’s No. 5 pick Kris Dunn, who more rookies feel is in position to take home the hardware. He’d be the Minnesota Timberwolves’ third straight Kia Rookie of the Year award winner (following behind Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins) if they’re right.
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Several weeks later, Embiid linked up with the Sixers in Las Vegas, where he practiced in spurts with players on the summer league squad, and went through individual training and skill development sessions as well. “My summer has been great,” said Embiid, who this off-season has spent time in both Philadelphia and Los Angeles. “We’ve been working on a lot. I’ve got a chance to play a little bit against the guys, so it’s been great.”
The week before the draft, however, news broke that Embiid had sustained a stress fracture in his right foot. Ever since, he and the Sixers have been purposefully and creatively attempting to rehab and manage the injury. “I haven’t played in two years, so…I think I’ll start a little slow,” Embiid allowed. This time last summer, the then-21 year old was only days removed from his second foot surgery, which, of course, subsequently sidelined him for the 2015-2016 campaign.