Joel Embiid fell to the third overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft, in perfect position for the Sixers to take him, but the former Kansas center feared he'd tumble even further after injuring his foot.
"At first when they told me that it was a stress fracture, I thought I was gonna drop to the second round," Embiid said in an interview with Dei Lynam for Comcast SportsNet's Sixers City. "Why? A week before the draft?
"I was scared."
When Embiid sustained the stress fracture in his right foot coming into the week of the draft, the doctors offered him two options during the process: Surgery or no surgery.
"He told me that if I don’t want to have a surgery, that’s a possibility, but there’s a higher [chance] that the problem would come back."
Embiid ultimately chose surgery, a route with a higher success rate of recovery that led him right into the waiting hands of the Sixers. Once he recovers -- it's expected to take between 5 to 8 months -- he'll focus on being a "complete player" so he can emulate his idol, Hakeem Olajuwon.
For much more of Dei's interview with Embiid, watch the full episode of Sixers City on July 8 at 9 p.m. on The Comcast Network.