Why Lonzo Ball's Bold Victor Wembanyama Take Speaks to Spurs Rookie's Sky-High Potential

“He has a chance to be the best player ever," Chicago Bulls point guard Lonzo Ball said of San Antonio Spurs rookie Victor Wembanyama. "I’ll say that right now, and I’ll stand on ten."
Apr 22, 2022; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Bulls guard Lonzo Ball (center) looks on from the bench during the second half of Game 3 of the first round for the 2022 NBA playoffs against the Milwaukee Bucks at United Center.
Apr 22, 2022; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Bulls guard Lonzo Ball (center) looks on from the bench during the second half of Game 3 of the first round for the 2022 NBA playoffs against the Milwaukee Bucks at United Center. / Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
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Since entering the NBA last season, Victor Wembanyama has gotten accustomed to seeing high praise come his way. 

It shouldn’t be a surprise, either. By all accounts the 7-foot-4 freak is a generational talent, with all of the potential in the world to be one of the best players in the league for the entirety of his career. Everyone sees it, whether it be fans, players, legends or analysts. 

Wembanyama is the future, and we’re witnessing greatness forming in real time. 

It’s impressive how the 20-year-old has been able to meet nearly unreachable expectations. His 21.4 point, 10.6 rebound and 3.6 block was ridiculous for a rookie, helping him win the Rookie of the Year award by a considerable margin. If he can do this in his first season in the NBA, the idea of what he could be down the road is even scarier for every team outside of the San Antonio Spurs. 

READ MORE: Did Spurs' Late-Season Victory Over Nuggets Affect Playoffs?

The latest praise comes from Chicago Bulls guard Lonzo Ball, who had plenty of bold opinions to share on the WAE Show last week. 

“Wemby’s probably the best defensive player we’ve ever seen. He’s going to average five to six blocks per game one year, and that’s gonna be O.D,” Ball said. “He has a chance to be the best player ever. I’ll say that right now, and I’ll stand on ten… When we went toe-to-toe with Giannis, that’s when I said alright, ‘cause I didn’t even watch him in France.”

Bulls guard Lonzo Ball (2) watches game action against the Los Angeles Lakers during the second half at Crypto.com Arena.
Jan 25, 2024; Los Angeles, California, USA; Chicago Bulls guard Lonzo Ball (2) watches game action against the Los Angeles Lakers during the second half at Crypto.com Arena. / Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

With just a season under his belt, Ball is already considering Wembanyama to be one of the most talented players to step foot on an NBA court. It’s probably too early to start comparing him to all-time greats, but the signs of him ending up towards the top of that list are very apparent.

Wembanyama’s defensive tools are truly incredible. There’s no player that has the package of height, athleticism and skill that he possesses. Even with a lack of experience against NBA talent, his opponents were already intimated by his presence in the paint. If you don’t believe it, just look at his second place finish in the Defensive Player of the Year voting. 

READ MORE: Victor Wembanyama's Curious Case For Defensive Player of the Year

Now, saying “The Extraterrestrial” could be the best player ever is a whole other ballpark. Reaching the likes of Michael Jordan and LeBron James in terms of production and accolades is an insanely tall task, and an unreachable one for 99% of players that come through the league. 

But, maybe Wembanyama is a part of that 1 percent.

Spurs center Victor Wembanyama (1) defends against Chicago Bulls center Andre Drummond.
Dec 21, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; San Antonio Spurs center Victor Wembanyama (1) defends against Chicago Bulls center Andre Drummond (3) during the second half at the United Center. / Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

It’s far too early to tell where he’ll end up or what San Antonio will accomplish in the next couple of decades, but as far as the potential of it being fruitful, few reasons exist to go against believing the possibility. There’s never been a talent quite like him, and as long as the Spurs build a quality roster around him, championships shouldn’t be too hard to come by.

Ball’s comments might seem a little outlandish at first, but they really aren’t that unrealistic to think about.

Only time will tell to see if his — amongst many others — comments hold true or not. 


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Chase Gemes

CHASE GEMES