|Long thumbs. #advancedscouting|Joel Embiid
, Kansas, Freshman, 7'0 250lbs2013/14 stats:
23.1 mpg, 11.2 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 2.6 bpg, 1.4 apg, 0.9 spg, 3.4 fpg, 2.4 TOpg, 62.6% FG, 68.5% FT
Whenever people talk about Embiid, they like to mention Hakeem Olajuwon. They like to say things to the extent of, "while I'm not saying he's the next Olajuwon - there will NEVER be another Olajuwon - Joel Embiid reminds me of Hakeem Olajuwon", or words to that effect. The point is always to state that Embiid reminds us of Olajuwon without ever risking the blasphemy that automatically seems to accompany comparing anybody to a great one. It is pretty grating.
Someone should probably just come out and say that Embiid is going to be the next Olajuwon. There is plenty of reason to think it. Embiid looks to be simply one of the most natural players to have ever played the game. Someone so new to it should not be so good at it.
Obviously, there stands to be more seasoning, hence the foul and turnover numbers. But the skill level Embiid has gained when so young and so new to the sport is incredible. The touch on the hook shot, the positional sense, rotations, already decent jumpshot, discipline so as to not bite on fakes (which could be seen to be improved upon throughout the year), jumpshot form, the whole shaboodle. And his body type was almost designed for the purpose. With the size, frame, speed, footwork, body control, leaping ability, hands and touch, he has the perfect frame for an NBA team of strength and conditioning coaches to hone.
So let's just go ahead and say it. Unless injuries prevent it, Embiid will pretty much be the next Olajuwon. The comparison doesn't have to be perfect to be legitimate, and comparisons to the greats are not blasphemous when they have a basis. Hedging when you only have one year of information to go on is understandable, but it's all we're getting before the draft, and it's been enough to show how good he already is. Let's all hope Embiid's frame holds up, because if it does, a special player awaits.
If not, then, well. We're going to gain and lose a great one very quickly.