Is it possible that we actually didn’t hype Victor Wembanyama enough? I say that without any sarcasm. I’m actually serious. Was it not enough to put this guy in the category of best prospects ever? Might he be the single greatest prospect ever?
I’m still not going there. Give me high school LeBron James and I’m good. But let me tell you, the things Wembanyama is doing are already stretching my basketball brain beyond anything I expected from him, and I definitely expected him to be great.
Case in point: A 90-second stretch against the Warriors on Friday night in which Wembanyama — I remind you at 7-foot-4 — crosses over into a pull-up jumper, grabs a rebound, finishes a spin-move and-one from basically behind the backboard along the baseline, blocks Klay Thompson’s 3-point attempt and finishes the dunk on the other end, and, finally, smothers every single move Andrew Wiggins tries to make, staying connected to him as he probes for any space whatsoever before stuffing his jump shot like a big brother and drilling a 3-pointer on the other end.
Honestly, you have to see this sequence to believe it.
The word insane gets throw around too much in NBA parlance. That is insane. In under two minutes, Wembanyama flashed a package of skill and size that is probably unparalleled in NBA history.
People older than me are saying Ralph Sampson was doing this kind of stuff at 7-foot-4 when he came into the league back in the early 1980s; if he was, then Sampson was a bad man and it’s a damn shame injuries robbed him, and us, of the ways he could’ve changed the game.
That said, I’m not sure the NBA was ready to accept a seven-footer doing these kinds of things back then. It is now. Wembanyama might be the perfect player to come along at the perfect time, and that combination is going to lead to at least one play, or one sequence like this, virtually every game he plays that will make you scratch your head, rub your glasses clean and ask, “Did I just see that right?”
Yes, you did. And it was insane.