Hakeem Olajuwon would’ve been like ‘Clint Capela on steroids’ in modern NBA, per Kenny Smith
Houston Rockets legend and Hall of Fame center Hakeem Olajuwon is already regarded as one of the best big men in league history. Former Rockets big man Clint Capela will likely never reach Hakeem’s lofty status.
Yet, current NBA analyst and former Olajuwon teammate Kenny Smith drew lines of comparison between the two bigs.
When asked whether he would take Olajuwon or Shaquille O’Neal had they both come out of college at the same time, Smith opted for “The Dream.” He then told FanSided’s Mark Carman that he thinks Olajuwon would have been a version of Capela on “steroids.”
“In my era and this era I’m going with the guy who got me two rings, I’m going with Hakeem,” the former Rockets guard said. “Because I know Hakeem would have moved out and shot the 3 ’cause he had the nice jumper. So even in this era he would have probably started shooting 3s. He would have been like Clint Capela on steroids. He would have been something different.”
Indeed, Hakeem Olajuwon boasted one of the better mid-range games of any big in his era. His ability to face up and knock down a jumper or use an assortment of fakes and up-and-under moves made Olajuwon one of the most prolific post players ever.
It is curious Kenny Smith chose to compare Olajuwon to Capela, though. The 26-year-old is one of the best rebounders and rim protectors in the game today, but Hakeem was equally efficient on the boards while also terrorizing slashers as a weak side defender and shot-blocker. Capela excels in pick-and-roll and makes himself available for lobs, but it seems like a lackluster modern-day comparison.
Then again, the absence of traditional bigs in today’s NBA makes it nearly impossible to find a parallel for someone as gifted as Olajuwon. The Rockets don’t even have any big man on their roster today!