We live in a hybrid in NBA world.
Today’s NBA big man can shoot dribble, face up, post up, handle the rock and pass the rock.
According to retired NBA big man and NBA Champ Kendrick Perkins who now serves as an analyst on ESPN, Joel Embiid is ahead of the pack in that conversation. “Well, I’ma say this; Embiid is number one,” Perkins told me on the Heavy Live With Scoop B Show.
“Karl Anthony-Towns is number two, and Ayton is number three. That’s how I rank ‘em. And when you look at Embiid, he is a generational talent.”
That’s high praise from Perkins.
The third overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft out of the University of Kansas, Embiid had multiple foot and knee injuries that delayed his NBA debut until the 2016–17 NBA season.
A three-time NBA All-Star, last season averaged 23 points, 11.6 rebounds, three assists, and 1.9 blocks per game for a Sixers team that finished 43-30 and in sixth place in the NBA’s Eastern Conference.
This season, the 76ers added key pieces like Dwight Howard, Seth Curry, Danny Green and a new head coach in Doc Rivers. Kendrick Perkins thinks Embiid could elevate his game even higher if he focus on one main thing: conditioning.
“The things that he’s able to do is ridiculous,” Perkins told the Heavy Live With Scoop B Show.
“And the only thing that’s holding Embiid back is his cardio and conditioning, that’s all. If he was to drop 35 pounds, you could book the MVP going to Joel Embiid. You can book that! If he was to get into shape. Like if he gets in shape, it’s OVER for the league.”
Perkins also shared that Embiid’s game and footwork reminds him of Houston Rockets legend and two-time NBA Champion, Hakeem Olajuwon.
“Absolutely,” he told the Heavy Live With Scoop B Show.
“Everything about it. When he goes into his bag in the low block, it’s nobody that’s shaking and moving like that or giving you the slippery eels and the up and unders, the face ups to the fake spins to the turnarounds — oh you not bitin’ on the fake spin, then I’ma give you the full spin, but I’ma give you and up and under with it to a jump hook. Like, all that is in his bag and that’s Hakeem Olajuwon. And like I said; Scoop B, if he just loses 35lbs, if he quit flirting with that 300lb range and just drop the 35, we could possibly be witnessing and possibly saying that Joel Embiid’s game mimics Hakeem Olajuwon. Because Hakeem was in shape. You have that strong cut up body that’s wiry but, you know he has to be strong down there… if Joel were to get his body in any type of shape or vet it close to Hakeem’s….awww man, what?”
The 2020-21 NBA season begins on Tuesday. The 76ers open up their season at home on Wednesday against the new-look Washington Wizards who have Russell Westbrook as their new point guard. Following Wednesday’s game, the 76ers go on a two-game road trip against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden and the Cleveland Cavaliers at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.