Tag Archives: Hakeem Olajuwon


I had a chance to go 1 on 1 with Kansas head coach Bill Self to get his input on Joel Embiid and Andrew Wiggins and who the Cavaliers should take with the 1st overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft.

(photo courtesy/sportsspeakers360.com)


It’s not quite as good as Saved By The Bell: The College Years with C’Town’s own Bob GolicSaved By The Bell - The CollegeYears

But as the June 26th NBA Draft gets closer here’s some more info to process as you and the Cavs try to decide who should be the #1 overall pick. Each of the Top 3 candidates have been compared to some current or former NBA stars, so I went back to all of their freshman years in college to see how their stats stack up against one another.


Joel Embiid photo - Courtesy of USA Today

Joel Embiid –  7’1-255-2014 – 11.2ppg  –  8.1rpg  –  2.6blk  –  62%fg  –   20%(3fg)  –  68%ft

H.Olajuwon – 7’0-255-1982 –   8.3ppg    –  6.2rpg  –  2.5blk  –  61%fg  –   0%(3fg)  –  56%ft

T. Duncan –6’11-248-1994 –  9.8ppg    –  9.6rpg  –  3.8blk  –   54%fg  –  100%(3fg) –  74%ft





A. Wiggins – 6’8–200–2014 – 17ppg – 6rpg – 1.5apg  – 44.8%fg – 34.1%(3fg) – 77.5%ft

M. Jordan –   6’6–195-1982 – 13.5ppg – 4.4rpg – 1.8apg – 53.4%fg – 0%(3fg) – 72.2%ft

Sidney Moncrief -6’3-180-1976 –12.6ppg – 7.6rpg – 2.1apg – 66.5%fg – 0%(3fg)– 72.7%ft




Jabari Parker Photo 1


J. Parker – 6’9-240-2014 – 19.1ppg – 8.7rpg – 1.2apg  – 47.3%fg – 35.8%(3fg) – 74.8%ft

Melo Anthony – 6’8-230-2003–22.2ppg–10rpg– 2.2apg – 45.3%fg – 33.7%(3fg)– 70.6%ft

Paul Pierce – 6’6-230-1996 – 11.9ppg – 5.3rpg – 1.8apg – 41.9%ft – 30.4%(3fg) – 60.6%ft

(Photos courtesy of USA Today, StandingOSports.com and Zagsblog.com) 




ProBasketballDraft.com’s Joe Kotoch and I break down the three prospects the Cavs are considering for the number #1 overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft.

David Griffin 2014 NBA Draft Lottery Photo


Joel Embiid

Center  –  7′-1″  –  255lbs  –  Age – 20  –  Kansas  –  FR.

Reach  – 9’5.5    –  Wingspan  –  7’5.75    Max Vert  –  ??

Averages  –  11.2 PPG-8.1 RPG-1.4 APG-2.6BLK-62.6%FG-20%(3FG)-68.5%FT

Draft Projection: Top 3 – if healthy should be the number #1 overall pick

Joel Embiid photo - Courtesy of USA Today


A true center that has a solid all-around game for only having played basketball for the three to four years. Can face up or play with his back to the basket. His best years are ahead of him, as his ceiling is extremely high.

His length and athleticism make him a defensive presence, a rim protector. Not only will he block shots, he will alter and change them. He’s an eraser in the paint and will be the anchor of your defense.

He’s is an above average rebounder who will battle for boards in traffic.

He plays with a little nastiness on defense, he doesn’t mind mixing it up a little.

A good athlete who can run the floor and has above average footwork for a 7-footer with limited experience. Plays with good energy and effort.

His jumper is solid for a 7-footer and showed range out to the college 3-point line. Has a decent touch for a big guy and can finish around the hoop with either hand.

He’s not a liability at the free throw line as he made almost 70% from the charity stripe at Kansas.

His ball handling is above average for a man of his size and should only get better with practice and more experience.



Has to get in the weight room and get stronger and put on some pounds.

The Cameroon native lacks the practice and in game experience at this point in his career because he hasn’t played a lot of basketball compared to the other potential top picks in the draft.

His basketball IQ isn’t the greatest either as he falls for a lot of pump fakes and that lands him in foul trouble. But again that comes from his lack of game experience.

His biggest weakness though and the major concern is the health of his back. After only 28 games at Kansas he had to shut it down because of a stress fracture in his back. Embiid and his agent say he’s 100% healthy now, but no team is going to believe that until they put him through their own thorough physical. Teams are going to want to find out if this could be a chronic injury or just a one-time thing. Bigs and bad backs aren’t a good mix, especially if you’re thinking of using the number #1 overall pick on a 7-footer.


Roda Thoughts:  If 100% healthy, to me and other NBA people that’ I’ve talked to, there’s not a player in this draft who could be more more of a force and dominant his position if he hits his ceiling than Embiid. If his back is not an issue, and he continues to progress at the pace that he has, the sky is the limit for the 7-footer from Cameroon.  Joel Embiid could end up being not only a game changer, but a franchise savior. I’ve heard NBA comparisons to Hakeem Olajuwon to Serge Ibaka to Tim Duncan. So I went back and compared Embiid’s freshman numbers to those of Olajuwon and Duncan and I’ll leave you with those stats as you, just like David Griffin and the Cavaliers, make up your mind as to whether or not Embiid deserves to be the Number #1 overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft just like Olajuwon and Duncan were!


Embiid              11.2ppg  –  8.1rpg  –  2.6blk  –  62%fg  –   20%(3fg)  –  68%ft

Olajuwon          8.3ppg    –  6.2rpg  –  2.5blk  –  61%fg  –   00%(3fg)  –  56%ft

Duncan             9.8ppg    –  9.6rpg  –  3.8blk  –   54%fg  –  100%(3fg) –  74%ft



There has been some movement in the “Roda Ratings” 2014 NBA Draft Prospects Top 20 based on talking with individuals who have watched personal workouts, Intel gained via sources and on the internet, along with some film study and the latest rumors.

For now I have flip-flopped the number #1 and #2 picks moving Joel Embiid to the top spot over Andrew Wiggins.

From sources I’ve talked to it’s going to be very hard for the Cavs to pass on the 7-foot athletic center with enormous potential if his back checks out 100 percent. David Griffin and the Cavaliers will have their own personal workout with Embiid soon so they can poke and prod him, X-ray him, MRI him, CT Scan him and whatever other medical tests they feel they need to do to make sure his back injury is healed and it doesn’t look like it will be a chronic injury. If he checks out, Joel Embiid would indeed fit what the Cavs are looking for, a defensive presence, with great foot work that allows him to score inside and a little bit outside. He would also make them tougher as he has a little nasty in him and because of his presence in the low post on offense, he would help spread the floor.  If he becomes half the player he’s being compared to in Hakeem Olajuwon, then the Cavaliers would be thrilled with a selection like that.

I still love the athletic freak, Andrew Wiggins. He’s my favorite player in this draft. He reminds me of a taller version of the old all-around, do everything  Milwaukee Bucks shooting guard Sidney Moncrief.  If the Cavs feel Wiggins would be the better fit because of other moves they may be making in free agency and with possible trades, I’d be thrilled with that selection as well. But in the last fifteen years, eleven NBA champions have had an impactful 7-footer on their squad, and when a talented “BIG” comes along and you have the chance to get him, you take him.

One other note, should the Cavs decided to go with the center in Embiid with the first overall pick, if I’m David Griifin I would then try and move back into the first round and get Kentucky shooting guard/small forward James Young a 6’7, 215 pound lefty. I have him rated higher than most people, but I think he would be another perfect fit for this Cavs team as they try and put the pieces of a winning puzzle together. Young can score it, penetrate it, shoot it and defend it with his 7-foot wing span and 36 inch vertical. I love his game and I’d love it even more if he ended up wearing the “Wine and Gold”!

Also moving in to my Top 20 for the first time is UCLA point guard Zack LaVine and Michigan St. power forward Adreian Payne. Both recently had workouts that answered some questions about what GM’s might have been worried about on the floor or physically. LaVine is really shooting up a lot of draft boards after showing off his 41 inch vert and 6’8 wing span. I’ve heard comparisons to Jamal Crawford and Russell Westbrook.

So without further ado, here are my latest “RODA RATINGS” –



(5-29-14 – Subject To Change)


1 Joel Embiid                      C     7’1 – 255 – FR – Kansas

2 Andrew Wiggins            SF    6’8 – 200 – FR – Kansas

3 Jabari Parker                  SF    6’8 – 241 – FR –  Duke

4 Noah Vonleh                  PF    6’10 – 240 – FR – Indiana

5 Julius Randle                  PF    6’9 – 225 – FR – Kentucky

6 Aaron Gordon                PF    6’8 – 210 – FR – Arizona

7 Dante Exum                   SG    6’6 – 188 – 18 years old – Australia

8 Marcus Smart                PG   6’4 – 225 – SPH – Oklahoma St.

9 James Young            SG/SF   6’7 – 215 – FR – Kentucky

10 Dario Saric                    SF   6’10 – 223 – 19 years old – Croatia

11 Doug McDermott       PF    6’10 – 210 – SR – Creighton

12 Gary Harris                  SG    6’5 – 210- SPH – Michigan St.

13 Zach LaVine            PG/SG 6’6  – 180 – FR – UCLA

14 Rodney Hood              SG   6’8 – 180 – SPH – Duke

15 Tyler Enis                     PG   6’2 – 180 – FR – Syracuse

16 Nik Stauskas                SG    6’6 – 200 – SPH – Michigan

17 Adreian Payne            PF    6’10 –240  – SRR – Michigan St.

18 P.J. Hairston                SG    6’5 – 220 – SPH – North Carolina

19 T.J. Warren           SF/SG     6‘8 – 230 – SPH – North Carolina St.

T-20 Cleanthony Early     PF    6’8 – 220 – SR – Wichita St.

T-20 Jusuf Nurkic               C     6’11 – 280  – 19 years old – Bosnia

T-20 Kyle Anderson    SG/SF    6‘9  – 233 – SPH – UCLA



As David Griffin and the Cavaliers continue their search for a head coach and who they’re going to select first overall in the June 26th NBA Draft should they keep the pick, let’s focus today on just the draft and one of the candidates who’s being discussed for that top pick – center Joel Embiid.

David Griffin 2014 NBA Draft Lottery Photo

In talking with numerous people throughout the Association, it’s apparent to me that if there were no injury concerns about Joel Embiid’s back he would be the clear-cut choice to go number #1 overall. But there are concerns, and thus the debate continues for the Cavs. After having your doctors look at Embiid, if you like what you see medically do you take him and don’t worry about it anymore? If there’s even a bit of a concern with Embiid physically, do you shift your focus to either Andrew Wiggins or Jabari Parker? Or do you go in a completely different direction and look to trade that first overall pick?

Joel Embiid photo - Courtesy of USA Today

photo courtesy of USA Today

Here’s my case for drafting Joel Embiid if, and that’s a big “IF”, he is cleared medically by the Cavs teams doctors:

He’s a legit center at 7’0 – 255 pounds with a 7’5 wingspan.

Cavs G.M. David Griffin talked about finding the right fit. Well Embiid fits! The Cavs are looking to get bigger, tougher, become a better shooting team and they want to spread the floor. Embiid does all of that for you right away. He has a nice soft touch for a big man who has only played the game for 4 years. He’s already a 68% free throw shooter.

He has the most upside or potential in this draft!

He will be a rim protector.  An eraser to make up for all of the other players defensive shortcomings like Larry Nance was for the Cavs in the late 80’s and early 90’s. He’s a shot blocker, a shot changer and he plays with a little nastiness in his game which the Cavs need in a big way.

He’s a very good athlete who runs the floor well and has outstanding footwork. He can drop step and spin move on you with ease already. Plus he’s got a face up and back to the basket game that’s only going to get better. Plus he’s a hard worker and wants to improve.

The comparisons I’ve read with Embiid are with Hakeem Olajuwon and Tim Duncan. To me, I see more of Olajuwon than Duncan because of his defense and footwork.

Let’s compare Embiid’s numbers his freshman year at Kansas with those of Olajuwon and Duncan in their freshman years. Remember Olajuwon ended up playing three years of college ball and Duncan four years. Embiid is heading to the NBA after just one year of NCAA action for the Kansas Jayhawks.

Embiid          – 11.2ppg – 8.1rpg -2.6blks – 62%FG – 68%FT – 20%(3FG)

Olajuwon     –  8.3ppg – 6.2rpg – 2.5blks – 61%FG – 56%FT – (No three point line)

Duncan         –  9.8ppg – 9.6rpg – 3.8blks – 54%FG – 74%FT – (1 for 1 in 3-pt shots)


Is Embiid the perfect player? No he is not. Nobody in this draft is. Embiid has to get stronger. He’s inexperienced as far as actual games played and he has the injury issues that need to be put under the microscope. His handle needs to get better as he turns it over in the post a bit, but that can change with more playing time. However he brings an emerging offensive game along with an above average defensive game to the table already and his potential is through the roof. He’s already a two-way player who’s only going to get better.

Check out a recent work out here courtesy of ESPN.com’s Chad Ford and Rodger Bohn –

@chadforinsider – Here’s a nice video compilation of Joel Embiid’s workout on Fri via @rodgerbohn. http://youtu.be/Gp7PX7hYUFQ 


Here’s one more thing to keep in mind about Embiid and big men. We hear how the NBA game is changing to more of wingman’s game and based on the last two NBA Championships won by LeBron James and the Heat you could make that argument. But consider these facts, of the last 15 NBA Championships that have been won, 11 featured impactful, if not dominate 7’0 foot centers as one of the core pieces of the team – (Shaq and Duncan 4 titles each, Pau Gasol/Andrew Bynum 2 titles and Kevin Garnett 1) – To me that sample size proves more than what’s happened in just the last two years.

So if Joel Embiid’s back is indeed 100% healthy and there are no red flags about his health, it’s going to be very hard for Cavaliers General Manager David Griffin to pass on such a talented 7-footer who is only going to get bigger, stronger and better.