In the first half of the season, Joel Embiid was lucky enough to be voted the league’s MVP. Embiid’s incredible dominance has shown the world that he means business with the MVP Trophy and is willing to pass anyone to achieve it. Joel Embiid’s skills are almost a blend of the modern NBA and the past: He shoots 3PT at a high level (38.1%), and has an extremely effective inside game capable of confusing opponents with a barrage of shots.
Joel Embiid’s game is reminiscent of another player of African descent, Rockets legend Hakeem Olajuwon. Hakeem Olajuwon won two championships with the Houston Rockets in the 1990s. There were many parallels between their play. In this article, we examine whether Joel Embiid is the modern incarnation of Hakim Olajuwon.
Joel Embiid was influenced by Hakeem Olajuwon
It’s no secret that Joel Embiid is heavily influenced by Hakeem Olajuwon. Hakeem Olajuwon’s influence on Joel Embiid is evident in his footwork, his ability to run the ball and his ability to shoot the basket. Hakeem Olajuwon was the center ready to take on the mid-range jumpers and regain the field. Both were defensive players, and Joel Embiid is someone who can anchor an entire defense for his size thanks to his amazing athletic ability and speed. While he has yet to win a DPOY award like Hakeem Olajuwon, it looks like he will try to bring his defense up to that level this season.
In this clip, we see Joel Embiid calling Hakeem Olajuwon his favorite of all time. He mentions that he and Olajuwon also have similar backgrounds in basketball – both started late in the sport but became elite stars. It stands to reason that Joel Embiid was attracted to Hakeem Olajuwon as an idol in his youth. There’s a quote in the video that captures Embiid’s respect for Olajuwon quite well.
When I started playing basketball, my coach in Cameroon gave me a video of Hakim. And I watched the tape at least six days out of seven.
I’m just watching him move. This is so incredible. I went to the gym, watched what he did, and did it myself.
Meanwhile, Hakeem Olajuwon commented on Joel Embiid’s remarks, saying he was honoured that Embiid took him so seriously.
I am honored that he took me so seriously. At the same time, he has the tools and the talent to make these moves. It’s him. It’s him. That’s his game.
Each player is a unique talent in basketball. But you can look at Joel Embiid and see traces of Olajuwon’s play. Subtle counterfeits, high-quality protection. Joel Embiid handles the ball like a center and is an offensive unicorn who can do anything on the field. Hakeem Olajuwon was a man who played in an earlier era, but he was similar to Embiid in that he had the ability to score points in many areas on the field. They obviously have a lot in common.
Statistical support Embiid-Olajuwon Equation
While it’s crazy to think of Joel Embiid ever being compared to a member of the Hall of Famer, his caliber as the most useful player deserves such comparisons. In the 1993-94 season, MVP Hakeem Olajuwon averaged 27.3 PPGs, 11.9 RPGs and 3.6 PPGs, and 1.6 PPGs and 3.7 PPGs. For the 2020-21 season, Joel Embiid is averaging 29.4 PPG, 10.9 RPG, 1.3 GSP and 1.3 PSU. Their stats match up pretty well, although Joel Embiid is not yet as good a rim protector as Olajuwon. Olajuwon, like Joel Embiid, was a key scoring option for the Houston Rockets. Joel Embiid has shown this season that he is ready to reach the next level, and may even surpass Olajuwon later in his career.
How does Joel Embiid evolve compared to Hakeem Olajuwon and Tim Duncan? @jkylemann examines how Embiid became an MVP candidate: https://t.co/bVzH1xwNmt pic.twitter.com/jT9YbP2F4q
– #RingerNBA (@ringernba) February 13, 2021
Joel Embiid hasn’t played in the NBA long enough to determine if he will become a Hall of Famer like Hakeem Olajuwon. Looks like he’s on the right track and finally got it all figured out. The development of Joel Embiid into a multi-talented player like Olajuwon seems to fuel this MVP race.
Joel Embiid must win
To complete his rise as a modern version of Hakim Olajuwon, Joel Embiid must follow in his footsteps and win the championship. Championships aren’t everything when it comes to evaluating a player, but they are an important part of a superstar’s legacy. There’s a real chance Joel Embiid will be MVP this season: That would showcase his abilities in the regular season, which we know he can do. If his dominance in the league continues into the playoffs, there is no defender in the league who can stop him.
The 76ers are the best team in the league and they will follow Joel Embiid wherever he goes. Joel Embiid is living up to his MVP potential this year, destroying every team that comes his way. Let’s hope Joel Embiid can lead the 76ers to the promised land and share one more experience with his mentor: winning a championship.
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