Sixers’ Daryl Morey Compares Joel Embiid to Former Rockets All-Star

Joel Embiid

Getty Joel Embiid reacts to a call during a game against the Brooklyn Nets.

Everyone has drawn comparisons between Hakeem Olajuwon and Joel Embiid, probably too many times to remember. But there’s another former Houston Rocket that Embiid might resemble.

Philadelphia 76ers president Daryl Morey sees similarities between his All-Star big man and Yao Ming. Morey inherited “The Great Wall” when he took over as general manager in Houston and tried to make him the focal point of the Rockets’ offense.

It was a roller-coaster ride at times, but no one ever questioned Ming’s talent. He made eight All-Star games and multiple playoff appearances, all while shooting lights out from 10-feet and in. Just like Embiid, per Tom Haberstoh of True Hoop.

Morey points out that it’s not the only way the Rockets won a boatload of games during his time there. When Morey took over the Rockets in 2007, he oversaw a highly-successful Rockets team built around Yao Ming.

Yao was maybe one of the best 10-feet-in players of all-time efficiency-wise,” Morey says. “Just like Joel.”

Morey sees a lot of similarities. Embiid isn’t as tall as Yao, but his ball-handling and shooting abilities conjure similar nightmares for opponents.

The new comments come on the heels of Morey telling Sports Illustrated that Embiid was the most “unstoppable” player he’s ever been around. That includes both Ming and James Harden.

“I get in trouble when I say stuff like this, but he’s the most unstoppable thing I’ve ever seen,” Morey said. “And I’ve seen a lot. You know who I’ve seen. But I’ve never seen anything like it.”

One more funny anecdote: Morey told True Hoop that the main reason he purchased an Apple iPhone was so he could FaceTime with Embiid. Technology rules, right?

Embiid ‘Probable’ for Friday’s Game

The wait might be over. According to The Inquirer’s Keith Pompey, Embiid is probable to return to the court on Friday night after missing one game due to COVID-19 protocols.

Remember, his barber tested positive and he missed Thursday night’s win over the Bulls in Chicago, plus sitting out the All-Star Game. The Sixers take on the Washington Wizards tonight at 8 p.m.

Embiid is the leading candidate for NBA MVP, while making a strong push for Defensive Player of the Year honors. His main competition in that endeavor? Ben Simmons, his teammate who has been just as impressive on the offensive end this year with his play-making ability.

“Ben is so important in the fact that he creates so much offense for us, with his attacks,” Sixers head coach Doc Rivers said. “I think he leads the league or he had been leading the league in creating threes so not having him obviously hurts us.

“And he’s our point [guard] and Joel is the same thing. Joel gives us the scoring but he also creates offense with double teams and then when we’re not even talking about the other end [on defense].”

Simmons is out at least one more game for COVID-19 protocols. He and Embiid share the same barber in Philadelphia.

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