Tim Hardaway isn’t among those totally buying into the overwhelming hype for phenom NBA prospect Victor Wembanyama, with the former Miami Heat star claiming the No. 1 pick of the 2023 draft will become an “alright” player.
.@HardawaySr says Victor Wembanyama will be an “alright” basketball player 😲🏀
Agree or disagree? 🤔 pic.twitter.com/N7DDicT4kl
— The Carton Show (@TheCartonShow) July 21, 2023
Hardaway was expressing a unique opinion about the 19-year-old during a discussion of how he compares to NBA veteran Bol Bol.
Wembanyama was drafted by the San Antonio Spurs with the top pick last month and is coming into the league with expectations not seen since LeBron James’ arrival in 2003.
For example, TNT analyst Kenny Smith said Wembanyama will be league MVP within four years, and an NBA executive reportedly said that he will be a top-10 player even if he doesn’t live up to all of his hype.
Hardaway was a five-time All-Star selection during an NBA career that spanned 14 seasons, including six with the Heat, so he has seen plenty of heralded players come into the league. The 56-year-old also recently worked in the New York Knicks’ scouting department, so he may have taken a close look at Wembanyama from that perspective at some point.
The agile big man played two NBA Summer League games, rebounding from a 2-for-13 shooting performance in his debut with a 27-point, 12-rebound game before he was shut down for the rest of the play in Las Vegas.
The Spurs reportedly intend to be cautious during his rookie season, with a load management plan thought to be already taking shape. Wembanyama reportedly was measured at almost 7-foot-4, but he has a slight build, so maybe Hardaway is skeptical that he can develop the strength necessary to thrive during an NBA season against more mature players.
Bol, for his part, is about to enter his fifth NBA season with few noteworthy accomplishments. Listed at 7-foot-2, he did show some improvement last season in his first season with the Orlando Magic, averaging 9.1 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game after three relatively quiet campaigns with the Denver Nuggets. The 23-year-old signed a one-year-contract with the Phoenix Suns this offseason.
Wembanyama is certain to have all eyes around the NBA watching him closely, and it will be interesting to see if Hardaway’s take on his ceiling turns out to be the correct one.