The NBA’s second player on the all-time career block’s list Dikembe Mutombo is one of the greatest defenders the league has ever seen, winning an insane FOUR Defensive Player Of The Year awards during his playing days as a member of the Denver Nuggets, Atlanta Hawks, Philadelphia 76ers, New Jersey Nets, New York Knicks and Houston Rockets.
Being the rim protector he is, Dikembe would have a keen eye for players that may have the potential to be lockdown paint protectors, and in an interview with The Undefeated’s Marc J. Spears, Mutombo singled out Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid as a player who may surpass himself in terms of career achievements.
“I love that kid. I will tell you the truth. I love that kid. He’s very talented. I think he is more talented than me at that age when I came into the NBA.”
“He just wants to play the game. I’ve been praying a lot for him, a lot that he will get an opportunity to play a full season in the NBA. I hope it’s coming. He really wants to follow in my footsteps, and I’m happy to see that.”
“Maybe better than me. Offensively, he is so much further ahead than so many of us that have come from the continent of Africa. More than many big men have defensively proven themselves in the NBA. There is nothing we can say about that. The kid can rebound. He can block shots. I just want him to stay healthy and play the game, because he does love basketball.”
Even though Embiid didn’t claim Rookie Of The Year honors this past season, Joel more than impressed during his debut year, averaging 20.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.5 blocks in the 31 games he competed in.
Health is still a major question mark for the 7-footer, who has only played the aforementioned 31 games since he was drafted in 2014. But if Embiid can manage to overcome the injury bug, he has a chance to not only overtake Dikembe Mutombo as a player, but may even join the ranks of some of the greatest big men the NBA has ever seen.