Joel Embiid: ‘Cleveland and LeBron Are Going Down,’ 76ers Will Start Winning

Bryan Brandom
(Photo: Getty Images)

Joel Embiid represented the Philadelphia 76ers at Tuesday’s NBA draft lottery to determine the order of the first 14 picks of the upcoming 2017 NBA Draft.

After walking away with the third overall pick (thanks to a pick swap with the Sacramento Kings from the 2015 trade of Nik Stauskas), Embiid, with a grand total of 31 NBA games of experience under his belt, felt more than a little confident about his squad’s future—and not the distant future.

The jovial and self-assured Embiid told the Philly Inquirer‘s Mike Sielski that the 76ers will be a winning team right as LeBron James’ Cleveland Cavaliers start to decline—and that that will happen next season.

Embiid’s prediction that Philly will have a winning team next season is not all that ludicrous. They were 13-18 in games he played in during the 2016-17 campaign. Add in 2016 No. 1 overall pick Ben Simmons, who didn’t play due to injury last season, and this July’s No. 3 overall pick—likely hyper-athletic wing Josh Jackson—and the 76ers could very well be challenging for a playoff spot in 2018.

Just don’t expect that to coincide with James’ downfall.

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