Stats & Info: Hakeem Olajuwon

Is Joel Embiid the next Olajuwon or Yao?

June, 21, 2014
Jun 21
Getty ImagesJoel Embiid’s freshman numbers compare favorably to Hakeem Olajuwon’s freshman numbers.
All of the talk right now is about Joel Embiid’s injury, a stress fracture to the navicular bone in his right foot.

The injury has drawn some attention away from the talk about Embiid’s incredible potential.

Back in October, Kansas coach Bill Self called Embiid, then a freshman who hadn’t yet played a college game, “a young Hakeem Olajuwon.”

How realistic was that?

Comparing their per-minute numbers as freshmen, Embiid is actually further ahead than Olajuwon was in most categories at the same age.

Embiid averaged more points, rebounds and assists per 40 minutes than Olajuwon as a freshman while posting a better field goal percentage and comparable blocked shots (4.5 per 40 minutes for Embiid; 5.1 for Olajuwon).

Embiid was the only player in the country to average at least 19 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks per 40 minutes this season.

Or is Embiid the next Yao/Ilgauskas/Walton?
A stress fracture in the foot is no joke for 7-footers in the NBA. There have been plenty of examples of that injury for big men, and it usually keeps them off the court for a long time.

In 1987-88, Bill Walton missed the entire season and never played again in the NBA. He attempted a comeback two years later but had to retire.

Zydrunas Ilgauskas missed 202 games in his career due to this injury. Foot injuries made him miss nearly four full seasons.

In 2002-03, Eric Montross missed the entire season and was forced to retire after the season.

Yao Ming had multiple occurrences of a stress fracture in his left foot and missed 159 games from 2009 to 2011. He retired after the 2010-11 season.

Brendan Haywood missed the end of the 2012-13 season and the entire 2013-14 season with a stress fracture in his left foot.

For some of these guys, the injury also led to further foot injuries.

So the question is: Could Embiid still be the next Olajuwon, or is his foot injury a sign of the troubles Ming and Ilgauskas went through in the NBA? Only time will tell.

Wall can't find shot, does find teammates

November, 20, 2013

Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty ImagesJohn Wall's shooting slump continued, but his passing helped set up a Wizards win
One of the closest games of the night came in Washington as the Wizards took a four-point win against the Minnesota Timberwolves by outscoring the visitors 7-2 in the last minute.

For the 2nd time in his career, John Wall had 16 assists with just 1 turnover. He also did it on March 22, 2013. Since the start of last season the only other player with 16 assists in a game in which he had 1 or fewer turnovers was Rajon Rondo on Nov. 25, 2012.

Setting up his teammates allowed Wall to overcome yet another poor shooting night. The speedy point guard finished 5-17 from the field (29 percent). That makes three straight games and five of the last six in which Wall has shot below 30 percent from the field.

Wall’s shooting issues this season have come primarily when he keeps the ball on pick-and-roll plays (32 FG pct) and in isolation (19 FG pct).

Big Love
Kevin Love
Not to be overshadowed in the loss for the Timberwolves was yet another big game out of Kevin Love, who is showing no ill effects from last season’s right hand and left knee injuries.

After scoring 25 points Monday, Love has 320 points on the season through 12 games – just 10 points shy of his total from all of last season when he was limited to 18 games.

This was Love’s fifth game this season in which he had at least 25 pts, 10 boards and four assists. The only other player with more than one such game is Paul Millsap who has done it twice.

Love leads the NBA with 10 games of at least 20 points and 10 rebounds this season.

This is the second season that Kevin Love has had ten 20-point, 10-rebound games in his team’s first 12 games of a season. The only other player over the last 25 years to do that twice is Karl Malone. The only others to do it once are Kevin Garnett, Hakeem Olajuwon and David Robinson.

Zeller comes up with elite effort

March, 24, 2012
Tyler Zeller’s historic game was barely enough to help the North Carolina Tar Heels reach the Elite Eight.

This win over the Ohio Bobcats kept an impressive streak alive. The Tar Heels have now won each of their last 11 Sweet 16 games and are 5-0 all-time in Sweet 16 games against double-digit seeds.

How the Tar Heels won
Zeller finished with 20 points and 22 rebounds. He’s the fifth player to have a 20-point, 20-rebound game with at least four blocked shots in the Men’s Basketball Championship since 1975, as noted in the chart on the right.

Zeller's eight offensive rebounds were one more than Ohio had for the entire game.

Reggie Bullock supported the effort with a rare statistical combination.

He’s the fourth player in tournament history to have at least 10 rebounds, five assists, and five 3-pointers, joining Mitch Richmond (1987 Kansas State), Hersey Hawkins (1988 Bradley), and Ray Allen (1996 Connecticut).

Stilman White, starting in place of injured guard Kendall Marshall, was the only Tar Heels player who didn't turn the ball over. He's the first North Carolina player to play at least 32 turnover-free minutes, and finish with at least six assists in the Round of 16 or later since Kenny Smith in 1985.

How Ohio hung in
North Carolina won despite committing 24 turnovers, its most in a game since 1989, when it had 26 against Loyola Marymount. Ohio’s defense entered forcing an average of 17 turnovers per game, best among those teams left in the Sweet 16.

The Tar Heels also survived an inefficient game from Harrison Barnes, who took a season-high nine 3-pointers and finished with a career NCAA tournament-low 12 points.

Barnes was 16-for-31 in the paint in the first two games of the tournament, but just 0-for-1 in this contest.

Oh, so close
This was the seventh time that a team seeded 13th or lower played in the Round of 16. None has won, but Ohio was the first of those teams to take the game to overtime.

Ohio's D.J. Cooper, just missed the game-winner in regulation for Ohio. He went 3-for-20 from the field, tied for the second-worst shooting percentage by a player since college basketball went to a shot clock in 1986.

The only one to fare worse in a game with at least 20 shot attempts was Loyola Marymount's Bo Kimble in 1988 -- a 3-for-21 effort that also happened to come in a loss against North Carolina.

Ohio finished the season 1-5 when Cooper took at least 17 shots (Ohio was 28-3 in all other games).

Looking ahead
What’s next for North Carolina?

The last time a No. 1 seed played an overtime game in the Sweet 16 was 2006, when Villanova and Connecticut did it.

Both of them won those Sweet 16 games and lost in the Elite Eight.