Are Wembanyama’s expectations too high?

Rylan Renteria, Contributor

Most, if not all, top overall picks in a leagues’ draft are typically viewed as a teams savior. Victor Wembanayama, the 7-foot-5 French phenom is no exception, and is actually gaining more attention than a typical No. 1 pick.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski named the Frenchman the “greatest prospect in the history of team sports,” and others a predicting Wemby will finish as one of the greatest basketball players ever before even stepping onto an NBA court.

Labeled as one of, if not the best prospect since Lebron James in 2003, it’s easy for Spurs fans to get ahead of themselves and start setting high expectations for the teams newest addition. 

Though the talent is undeniable and future all-star appearances and league MVPs are on the horizon, at what point should fans temper their expectations? 

There’s no doubting Wembanyama’s skills and sky-high potential. The expectation should be that he brings championships to San Antonio and is a perennial all-star. When you select a player with the first overall pick, the player is expected to be franchise-altering. However, the discourse surrounding Wembanyama has far surpassed that of a standard first-overall pick. 

As Wembanyama gained more hype and more people started watching him play in France, the comparisons to Lebron as a prospect began. With Lebron being one of the most famous and dominant athletes in the world for the past 20 years, fans are going to expect the same results from the Spurs new star. 

Reginald Thomas II/ San Antonio Spurs

Without even playing a single game in the NBA, Wembanyama will have to match or surpass the career of the best player of all time.

As absurd as that sounds, it’s a shared sentiment amongst fans and the media. To match the hype that he has received in just this past year, the 19-year-old forward will have to dominate as soon as he steps on the court, or he will be labeled a bust. No matter how you feel about Wembanyama, it’s unfair to place that type of expectation on his shoulders. 

In San Antonio, Wembanyama will have all the guidance he needs with mentorship from legends such as Tim Duncan, David Robinson, Manu Ginobili, Sean Elliot and Gregg Popovich. Their collective wisdom will help him stay focused and continue to develop as building block in the franchise. 

It is unlikely that the Silver and Black will find success right away with Wembanyama, and that is okay. This Spurs squad isn’t talented enough to compete for a title in a tough Western Conference. The task on hand should be developing Wembanyama into a star and then building around him. With the elite coaching staff in San Antonio, Spurs fans will see much success in the Wembanyama era; they just have to be patient.