Is Wembanyama a bigger star than Zion Williamson?
Barring any unforeseen setbacks, the highly touted Victor Wembanyama will be playing NBA basketball next season. And it will likely be for the San Antonio Spurs, as the franchise recently found out they would be selecting first in this year’s NBA Draft.
As we alluded to, an ungodly amount of hype has been bestowed on this young man. Some claim that if he’s only as good as all-time greats like Anthony Davis, Kevin Durant, and Hakeem Olajuwon, that would be a disappointment.
All this chatter about this prospect’s upside sounds eerily familiar to what was experienced in 2019 when the New Orleans Pelicans used their first overall pick to select college phenom, Zion Williamson.
Back in the day, when people were discussing his upside, some commented that his unique physical attributes made it so that he defied any sort of comparison. The ones people could muster up usually involved Hall of Famer Charles Barkley and former first-overall picks Blake Griffin and Larry Johnson.
This leads us to the question, which prospect had more hype around them when they were coming out?
To be clear, this isn’t a question of who has more on-court upside or who will have a better career. Those are more quantifiable inquiries that could receive a more objective answer a handful of years down the road (when we see how both their careers unfold).
What we’re asking is more subjective and open to interpretation. With that in mind, there is one way we can try to measure the hype surrounding these two players.
How can we do that? By monitoring how many nationally televised games the NBA schedules for the Spurs next season.
As the tweet above shows, during Williamson’s rookie year, the NBA gave New Orleans 20 nationally televised games. The NBA has yet to release the schedule for the 2023-24 season, but it will be interesting to see how many games they give San Antonio. Will it be over or under that 20-game mark that was given to New Orleans?
This is a fair way to compare the two prospects because neither New Orleans nor San Antonio are huge markets, so you can’t chalk up their location as the reason for why they are being granted a ton of national slots.
If they are getting national shine, it is almost exclusively because they roster some very hype players.