Hakeem Olajuwon Criticizes Joel Embiid for Shooting Threes, Praises Nikola Jokic for Doing it All

Photo Credit: Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

Hakeem Olajuwon was interviewed for an article in Sports Illustrated about post play being a lost art in the NBA. He’s quoted criticizing Joel Embiid for shooting threes and not getting on the block:

That means he watches today’s stars from afar, and he sees the possibilities. Take Embiid. Olajuwon likes him and has given him advice, but he has questions. “He’s got all the moves, but leveraging the moves is different. Why would he be shooting threes?” Olajuwon asks. “He has the advantage every night, and if I have the advantage, I’m going to wear you out.”

But threes? “That’s settling! When I’m tired, I settle. You don’t settle when you’re trying to win. You don’t start the game settling!”

Later in the article, he heaped praise on Nikola Jokic for doing it all:

The biggest reason someone like Olajuwon loves Jokić is that Jokić does it all, not with overwhelming athleticism and strength, like Giannis, but with craft and timing. With counters for his counters. “He’s playing the game, and you think he’s not serious, but he’s so effective,” marvels Olajuwon. “He doesn’t look strong, but I see he gets such deep post position. I think maybe it’s the mismatch, but then he does the same thing against bigger guys. His shot, his fakes, they are very difficult to time. You don’t know when he’s faking and when it’s real. He has tricks!”

Olajuwon nods. “He’s the one.”

It be the people closest to you. Joel Embiid learned basketball from watching a tape of Hakeem his coach gave him in Cameroon. Olajuwon’s given him advice during his career. Now his hero disses him to Sports Illustrated in favor of his greatest NBA rival. Diabolical.

Here’s the thing –

Embiid takes 3.2 threes per game, which is the second-lowest of his career and makes 35% of them, which is just outside the top 100 in the NBA. He has the most 40 point games this season and he’s leading a team to the 3 seed when his second and third option have already both missed a month. If anyone does it all, it’s Joel Embiid. He’s definitely not averaging 33 points per game in the post. Even with his expanded game he’s shooting 12 free throws a night at an 85% clip. The most FTs a game Olajuwon ever averaged was 8 and he was a 71% career free throw shooter. Embiid’s second to Jokic in points in the post. Before this year? He had 112 more points from that spot than Jokic last year. Since the 2019 season Embiid’s had more points in the paint than Jokic and everyone else in the league. In two of those seasons Jokic played 20 more games than Embiid. The criticisms just continue to get weirder and weirder.

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