Wizards, Sixers compare Joel Embiid to NBA legend Hakeem Olajuwon

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·3 min read
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Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid has been compared to NBA legend Hakeem Olajuwon plenty of times in the past. The comparisons are clear as Embiid has patterned his game a bit after the Houston Rockets franchise legend with his impeccable footwork and his ability to dominate a game.

To begin the 2021 playoffs, Embiid is taking on one of Olajuwon’s former teammates in the form of Washington Wizards coach Scott Brooks. Brooks played for the Rockets for 2.5 seasons and he was able to see Olajuwon better than a lot of people.

Through three games in this Round 1 series, Embiid is averaging 29.3 points on 67.4% shooting and he’s also shooting 54.5% from deep and 87% from the foul line. That has Brooks reminiscing on his former teammate.

“I was fortunate enough to play with Olajuwon for almost three years, he’s doing things that I haven’t seen since then,” Brooks explained. “His seventh year in the league he’s been able to see it all now and he’s had some seen all the defenses, seen all the schemes, and he’s skilled. He’s a skilled, athletic, tough, high IQ basketball player.”

It is clear that Embiid is growing as a basketball player in terms of his IQ. He is quickly identifying double teams and he is doing an excellent job of being able to attack them correctly either as a scorer or as a passer and that is scary for the rest of the league.

“If you make a mistake, he capitalizes on it and their team does as well,” Brooks added. “Even if you don’t make a mistake, he was making shots over our guys. He was making shots over a double team last night, but like I said, I haven’t seen anybody that’s Olajuwon be able to dominate a game on both ends of the floor like he does.”

Sixers coach Doc Rivers has played with the likes of Patrick Ewing and he has battled Olajuwon in the past. He agrees with Brooks that there is some Olajuwon in Embiid’s game, but he sees more Ewing in his star big man.

“I can see that,” said Rivers when asked about the Olajuwon comparison. “I can see that and Patrick Ewing. We had a chance to practice at Georgetown the other day and Patrick stayed and watched and talked and so I think Joel has a little bit of all those guys. The footwork of Hakeem and (Kevin) McHale, the fadeaway, the shooting of Ewing, he puts a lot of work into his game, and that’s what makes him such a good player.”

The Sixers will need Embiid to continue to make these strides forward as they continue with this playoff run. He has been terrific in Round 1 with the Wizards, but he will have to continue to channel Olajuwon as the postseason goes on.

This post originally appeared on Sixers Wire! Follow us on Facebook!

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