‘He looks great… but you won’t see that until he gets to the NBA’: Charles Barkley suggests the Victor Wembanyama hype may NOT be justified… and says he will NOT have the same immediate impact as LeBron James
TNT host and Hall of Famer Charles Barkley thinks Victor Wembanyama, the projected No. 1 in the overall draft, doesn’t deserve the hype he’s received — and reserves further judgment until he’s in the NBA.
The 7-foot-5 teen has dazzled fans and scouts alike with his shooting and ability to dribble the ball like a guard, despite his gargantuan size.
In his most recent game with the French national team, he recorded 22 points, 17 rebounds, six blocks and four steals against the Czech Republic.
“Everyone wants this kid and he looks like he’s great, but you really don’t see that until he gets to the NBA,” Barkley said.
NBA analyst Charles Barkley said he doesn’t think Victor Wembanyama is worth the hype
Wembanyama is by far the favorite to be ranked No. 1 overall in the 2023 NBA draft
Barkley then continued to talk at Wembanyama after co-host Kenny Smith praised the big man’s goal-scoring skills saying “I disagree, I think it’s going to be a huge adjustment.”
“The physicality… I think it’s more physical than him playing against the Czech Republic. I mean, he’s going to play against grown men.
“And he’s going to have to guard those guys on the other side too, that’s going to get him in big trouble.
“Listen, I’ve been in the NBA for 40 years and I’ve only seen one guy, one guy who didn’t go to college and look great, that was LeBron. Kobe was great, he struggled early. Kevin Garnett was great, he struggled early.”
Clearly, Barkley must have forgotten about a certain MVP candidate Luca Doncic who played in Spain before being drafted into the NBA and averaged 21.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and six assists as a rookie.
Doncic was also named NBA Rookie of the Year for the 2018-19 season after not playing a single second of college basketball, so it seems Barkley wants to reconsider his statements.
The 2018–19 class included players who played in college such as Trae Young, Deandre Ayton, and Jaren Jackson Jr, all of whom are regarded as some of the best players in the league.
Barkley’s co-host Kenny Smith, who has interviewed for multiple NBA coaching positions after displaying a high basketball IQ as both a coach and TV analyst, also disagreed with the statements made at Wembanyama.
Fellow analyst Kenny Smith disagreed with Barkley and his gloomy forecasts for Wembanyama
Wembanyama has wowed scouts with his dribbling ability while standing over six feet tall
He has also displayed amazing three-point power for a player of his towering stature
Smith responded to Barkley’s comments saying, “He’s a special talent because of his ability to handle the ball and shoot the ball.
“I just think his skills, the way he scores, even in the European game, is very similar to the way he would score in the NBA,” Smith continued after Barkley’s stoppage. So I don’t think it will be an adjustment for him.
“It’s not like… I think mistakes were made where guys had to change their game and add something to it.”
“This kid shoots the three, handles the ball, gets off the floor in parts, seven foot five, he’s going to shoot over you. There aren’t many guys who can really defend him and the ball handling is what really makes him special to me. It’s nothing but his ability to handle basketball.”