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Giannis Antetokounmpo Knows Victor Wembanyama Is Going To Be A ‘Big Problem’ In The NBA

Prior to the season there was an expectation that we could see some all-time tanking efforts this season because of the talent at the top of the 2023 draft class, headlined by Victor Wembanyama. The 7’3 (and maybe growing?) French star is a generational prospect and teams got to see that up close when he put on a show in two exhibitions against Scoot Henderson (the No. 2 prospect) and the G League Ignite just before the NBA season started.

To this point, the ultimate tank-off hasn’t materialized just yet, with the likes of the Thunder, Spurs, Jazz, and Pacers — all teams expected to be part of a race to the bottom — playing near .500 or better ball through an eighth of the season. That figures to eventually change and at some point the chase for a bottom three record in the league (and 14 percent odds at Wembanyama) will be on.

For anyone skeptical of Wembanyama’s stature as an elite prospect, all you need to do is listen to the way current NBA stars talk about him after they see him up close. LeBron James heaped praise on the young star for his immense on-court abilities, and also for how he carries himself off the court despite all the hype. Stephen Curry likened him to a create-a-player in 2K come to life. And most recently, Giannis Antetokounmpo — who has a strong argument to holding the title of the best player in the world — explained to Serge Ibaka on “How Hungry Are You?” why Wembanyama is going to be a “big problem” for the NBA when he arrives.

I love Giannis starting by asking how much longer Serge wants to keep playing, as if he’s hinting that the veteran big man might want to reconsider his stance on staying around once Wemby arrives in the league. From there, he explains that Wembanyama “blocks shots like Rudy, but shoots like KD,” which is the type of thing that you would typically brush aside as hyperbole, but when you watch the young French star play you can’t help but think the exact same thing.

You can tell that the league’s best take Wembanyama very seriously as a threat as he prepares to enter the NBA, and we’ll see just how quickly he can assert himself as a star caliber player when he arrives next fall.