Scott Brooks says Joel Embiid is most skilled center since Hakeem Olajuwon

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Brooks says Embiid is NBA's most skilled center since Olajuwon originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

Ever since he was starring at the University of Kansas, Joel Embiid has drawn comparisons to former Houston Rockets legend Hakeem Olajuwon. But it's one thing for sportswriters or fans to paint the parallel, it's much different when coming from the perspective of somebody like Wizards coach Scott Brooks.

Brooks is currently coaching against the Philadelphia 76ers and Embiid in the NBA playoffs and he played with Olajuwon in Houston. Brooks has a championship ring from the 1993-94 team, which beat the New York Knicks in a seven-game series in the NBA Finals. 

When asked after Sunday's practice about game-planning for Embiid, Brooks brought up 'The Dream.'

"He’s about as good as they can possibly be at that position. I was fortunate enough to play with Olajuwon for almost three years. He’s doing things that I haven’t seen since then. In his seventh year in the league, he’s been able to see it all now. He’s had seen all the defenses, seen all the schemes and he’s skilled. He’s a skilled, athletic, tough, high-IQ basketball player," Brooks said.

Brooks went on to say he hasn't seen anyone "dominate a game on both ends of the floor" like Embiid since Olajuwon. It's Embiid's ability to make teams pay for mistakes on offense while also controlling a game on defense that stands out the most.

Olajuwon is one of only three players to win the MVP and defensive player of the year awards in the same season. The others were Michael Jordan and Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Embiid, now 27, is putting it all together and reaching the potential he's flashed for years. 

"He doesn’t get enough credit for being an outstanding defender, but he sees it, he knows when to help off his man, he knows when to put more heat on a pick-and-roll. He just has that," Brooks said. 

"He has good experience. He’s had some tough playoff losses that also help you to get better the next go-around. He’s one of the best I’ve seen in a long time."

Embiid is averaging 29.3 points per game in the Wizards-Sixers first round series while shooting 67.4% from the field, 54.5% from three and 87% from the free throw line. The Wizards have tried a wide range of defensive looks, essentially all of them to no avail. 

The Sixers now lead the series 3-0, with a chance for a sweep on Monday. So far, the Wizards haven't been able to provide much resistance to one of the NBA's best players.