Joel Embiid Plays Like Rockets’ Hakeem Olajuwon? Ex Sixers PF Reveals Why

Ben Simmons

Getty Images Sixers stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons are enjoying their partnership in Philadelphia and want to win a title together.

One of the 50 Greatest NBA players, Hakeem Olajuwon was the man on the Houston Rockets’ back-to-back NBA championship titles in 1994 and 1995.

He was also a U.S. Olympic gold medalist.

In 17 seasons, Olajuwon averaged 21 points and 11 rebounds per game. The way he formulated it was poetry in motion.

I’m convinced that Olajuwon, a 7-footer, was a guard in disguise.

His footwork was just amazing. The only person that I can think of in today’s NBA who reminds me of Olajuwon is Philadelphia 76ers big man, Joel Embiid.

Despite dealing with injuries this season, Embiid is averaging 23.3 points, 11.8 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.3 blocks per game for the Philadelphia 76ers.

Million dollar question: Does Joel Embiid play basketball like Hakeem Olajuwon?

On a recent episode of the Scoop B Radio Podcast, I posed that question to former Philadelphia 76ers forward, Marreese Speights.

Check out our Q&A below:

Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson:
The 16th overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft Marreese Speights on the line with Scoop B Radio… Brother, I don’t know even where to start – first of all I went to college in the Philadelphia area and I remember when you played for the 76ers [2009-2011]… and I went to Eastern University down the street from Villanova by the King of Prussia Mall. When I watched that Sixers team, to me the thing that always stood out was Andre Iguodala, Lou Williams, yourself… I feel like 30 for 30 should do a documentary on your team because they were ahead of its time. Do you miss those Sixers days?

Marreese Speights: Yeah I ain’t gonna lie man, it was a brotherhood man. We was young and it was fun, and a lot of people were starting to come on and understanding that and then so many things happened. Things that happen in the League and the team kind of broke up. Like you said, that team would’ve been dangerous if we would’ve kept the same core of the guys that we were getting. That team would’ve been REAL dangerous. It was exciting man, being on that team.

Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: In your rookie season you had a .502 FG average and you played in 79 games averaging 77.3%. I feel that there were still dominant big man in that era. In that pre-Warriors era. If you started today, do you think that you’d dominate the NBA with that type of statistics like you did in your rookie season?

Marreese Speights: If I started, explain that to me a little bit more —

Brandon ‘Scoop: B’ Robinson:
So I feel like the big man is making a comeback. Hybrid big man like DeAndre Ayton, Joel Embiid of the Sixers and I feel like the big man is making a comeback. I think post-Warriors dominance in the NBA Finals. Not taking anything away from your Championship team. If you yourself, who was drafted in 2008 start in the NBA today, with the reemergence of the big man do you think that you would pick up where you left off as if when you were a rookie currently in the NBA?

Marreese Speights:
It just depends because I never really started you know what I’m sayin’? I started when I went to Memphis [Grizzlies], so it’s different when you’re coming off the bench and starting but back then if I had the opportunity like a lot of people to come in and start I would have probably been different…but you’ll never know – even in my last year in Orlando, I was still coming in the game and my plus/minus and my points per 48 were always the top 20 in the League. So if I ever got an opportunity to start like I did in Memphis, ah man I would never know what would happen with that so, yeah because I had confidence in my game and my ability especially my rookie year, my ability to jump, and my athleticism was way crazier… so yeah I probably would.

Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: Yeah! And it’s funny because when I played with you in that game in Tallahassee, you were talking a lot of 3’s. I feel like that Embiid style of play, where he’s that inside-outside reminds me a little bit of kind of Chris Webber in his final years with the Sixers. Do you see any comparison between those two or do you see an Olajuwon comparison?

Hakeem Olajuwon 2015 NBA All-Star Weekend

Olajuwon at NBA All-Star Saturday Night in New York City in 2015 (Getty)

Marreese Speights: See I ain’t gonna lie to you I haven’t even watched Embiid play that much this year, but the last time I did see him, it’s more like an Olajuwon to me. I think more Hakeem Olajuwon I think that he plays more like. Because this year I haven’t watched him since he got back from his little transition thing. I don’t really watch the games like that, but I just dial in sometimes.

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