LeBron, not Wembanyama, was the biggest prospect ever, Green says

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Victor Wembanyama’s hype is real and palpable.

And at 7-foot-2 with an 8-foot wingspan, a toolset that includes exquisite ball-handling skills, a free-flowing jump shot and springy athleticism, it’s easy to see why.

Wembanyama is different, a different perspective than anything the game of basketball has seen before. And he’s the only reason San Antonio Spurs managing partner Peter J. Holt jumped out of his chair with excitement after NBA assistant commissioner Mark Tatum revealed the team would own the No. 1 pick in the draft.

San Antonio is all but guaranteed to select “Wemby” with their prized pick and land a man they, and a significant portion of the basketball population, consider a generational player. Some have even called him the best and greatest prospect ever.

But Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green disagrees with that idea.

“There’s been a lot of talk about whether Wemby is the best prospect since LeBron?” Green said this week on his podcast. “Some people say he’s the best prospect ever.”

“Of course, everyone will say that now. But let’s not forget what a great prospect LeBron James was,” he continued. “LeBron James was a phenomenon from the age of 15. LeBron James was the No. 1 pick when he was 15. So while we like to quickly move on to the next thing, I’m not going to go off the rails and say He’s the best prospect ever, but he’s arguably the best prospect since Lebron, and probably the second best prospect ever.

“Also, we tend to forget what kind of prospect LeBron was because he did the unthinkable. What we thought of him as a prospect actually lived up to and exceeded what we thought of him as a prospect. It’s very easy now in this day and age to say ‘oh he’s a better prospect than LeBron’ you forget how great a prospect LeBron was because of how much he’s done but LeBron was huge, crazy!

Green certainly made some valid points. James was being compared to the likes of Jordan, Bird and Chamberlain when he was still a teenager. Their high school games became such beautiful tickets that they eventually carried over to college stages. ESPN showed multiple broadcasts of their games. And he was the first high school prospect to grace the cover of Sports Illustrated, doing so at just 18 years old.

Now, while Green won’t put Wemby’s status ahead of James, he did acknowledge that only about 15 players would be safe from a trade in efforts to acquire him. Some of the names he mentioned: LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Luka Dončić. Not even Draymond himself would be sure in his own mind.

That’s saying a lot for a 19-year-old who has yet to play his first game in the Association.

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