Stephen A. also made a major prediction on what Wemby will accomplish in his rookie year
STEPHEN A. Smith has acknowledged that Victor Wembanyama is the real deal.
But NBA fans quickly pointed out the First Take star tipped No. 3 pick Scoot Henderson, the new Portland Trail Blazers star, to win the Rookie of the Year award rather than the San Antonio Spurs center.
NBA fans pointed out Stephen A. Smith ‘liked Scoot [Henderson] better’ than Victor Wembanyama not long ago after he heaped praise on Wemby during Thursday’s First TakeCredit: X/FirstTake
Wembanyama (right) has put up historic numbers to start his rookie seasonCredit: Getty
Wembanyama, 19, has recorded a historic start to the season.
The No. 1 pick put up numbers unseen since the early days of Shaquille O’Neal and David Robinson in his first five NBA games.
In that timeframe, the Spurs star averaged 20.6 points, 8.0 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.4 steals, and 2.2 blocks – while shooting 50% from the field and 32% from deep on five 3-point attempts per game.
After the 7-foot-4 center’s electric 38-point performance against Kevin Durant’s Phoenix Suns on Thursday, Stephen A. said the hype around the young Frenchman wasn’t blown out of proportion.
“Listen, this dude Wembanyama… Let me tell you something,” the ESPN sportscaster said.
He can ball. He’s a special talent, man.”
Smith added: “It’s one thing to be as tall as he is, or whatever. The brother can handle, he can shoot, he’s got a stroke.
“He shot 57% from the field, y’all [against the Suns]. It wasn’t just 38 points on like 35 shots. He shot 57% from the field – inside, outside.
“As skinny as he is, he’s not scared to attack the basket … he’s demanding the ball in crunch time.”
Smith’s remark made NBA fans rush to social media to say they didn’t forget how he predicted less than a month earlier that Henderson would outplay Wembanyama and Chet Holmgren in 2023-24.
“My boy said he like Scoot Henderson better lol,” one wrote.
“Didn’t this guy say Scoot was gonna be better than him?” another added.
“Whatever happened to you saying Scoot was the better player? And Wemby isn’t going to make his presence felt until after a few seasons?” a third said.
Henderson logged 8.8 points, 2.2 rebounds, and 4.6 assists in five appearances to start the season, shooting a poor 34.6% from the field.
Smith did say he expects NBA stars to eventually get more physical with Wembanyama as they guard the French phenomenon, capitalizing on what appears to be his only evident weakness.
“Because his skill set, along with his height, leaves you devoid of most answers for this brother,” Stephen A. said.
And he added: “Other than that, I don’t know what you’re going to do with this brother. Because he ain’t gonna get worse – he ain’t even turned 20 yet.
“Wembanyama is the real deal. He’s the real deal.
Smith also predicted Wemby would probably end his rookie season with an All-Star honor.