How Victor Wembanyama Compares to NBA Superstars
After Wembanyama's spectacular U.S. debut, here are seven NBA forerunners to consider, including three of the greatest scorers of all time
HENDERSON, NEV. — I’m finally headed home after 10 days of basketball bliss: four games watching Victor Wembanyama play, including his absolutely dominant pair of performances here in Nevada, posting 73 points in two games with countless highlight plays.
Coming into this season, I knew I wanted to follow Victor Wembanyama closely and track his progression over the nine months before the 2023 NBA Draft, where he is almost certain to be the first player to shake Adam Silver’s hand.
I’m so enamored with the 7’4” prodigy that I gave serious consideration to moving to Paris for this basketball season. Not only would I watch Wembanyama up close every week, but I would also be the main source for the American audience — some of which has expressed skepticism about the latest basketball unicorn and whether he could live up to the hype.
That skepticism comes in part from overuse of the term, especially because it’s been attached to Kristaps Porziņģis — who is indeed a uniquely talented NBA player but who, at age 27, is years removed from his one and only NBA All-Star Game.
But I knew that Wembanyama was truly different, so the plan my wife and I discussed was that I would get a small loan and take advantage of the currency exchange rate given the euro and the dollar are close to equal — making Paris more affordable — for the first time since I began scouting internationally.
Meanwhile, the birth of our infant son in July added a dose of realism to the situation, which meant that, instead of living in Paris full-time, I would instead visit as often as possible. The first time this season came last week (my report is here). The next opportunity will be in January — more on that when the time comes.
We’ve never seen anything like Wembanyama. Ever. He is, to quote LeBron James: “a generational talent … an alien.”
So I’ll be there as often as I can, reporting from the scene.
No matter how unique a prospect is, it’s natural for scouts and fans alike to compare him to current NBA players and stars from past generations.
Sometimes the comps are based on physical appearance or playing style, and sometimes they go a bit deeper. In any case, they often serve as a benchmark to set expectations for prospects, and imply best- and worst-case scenarios and developmental paths.
Here are the comparisons that arose this week based on what we saw from Wembanyama.
A few months back I made a video mentioning Wembanyama as the best prospect since LeBron. I immediately received a text message from an NBA scout who seemed upset that I even made the comparison:
C’mon bro….You’re different….Don’t be like those click baiters…..
I haven’t spoken with the scout this week, but I’m willing to bet he changed his tune after Wembanyama’s tantalizing introduction to an American — and NBA — audience that’s often Euro-skeptical.