Is a 19-year-old Wembanyama ahead of an 18-year-old LeBron? | Good Word with Goodwill

Yahoo Sports NBA writer Vince Goodwill is joined by Bomani Jones on the “Good Word With Goodwill” podcast to discuss what they’ve seen so far from San Antonio Spurs rookie Victor Wembanyama in the preseason, and compare Wembanyama heading into his rookie season with LeBron James’ rookie season in 2003-04.

Hear the full conversation on “Good Word with Goodwill” - part of the “Ball Don’t Lie” podcast - and subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you listen.

Video Transcript


BOMANI JONES: You and I were both old enough when LeBron came into the league.


BOMANI JONES: And granted, LeBron was 18 not 19. But this 19-year-old version of Vic looks to be better than that rookie version of LeBron. And LeBron hit the league ready to be a very good NBA player.

VINCENT GOODWILL: Well, even the thing with LeBron was early was the consistency of like doing it night to night replicating it. With Vic, I don't feel like that's going to be much of a problem. Like the numbers might fluctuate because of jump shooting, but I feel like defensively he's going to be there night after night easy. And whether he's playing 30 minutes or 35 minutes, however Pop and those guys manage him. Everything that I've heard from people who I trust, they're not going to put him on like the low management plan early.

BOMANI JONES: To do it as handles. That's the sick part. Like when I got there in Vegas and see this 7 foot 3 dude, hell of-- I don't understand how any of this is possible. Like with LeBron it's like, wow, what an amazing collection of things in one place. It's impossible they'd all be there. But it wasn't impossible that you could be 6' 8" and fast. It wasn't impossible you could be 6' 8" and have like-- all of those things were individually possible in combination, you just rarely saw them in the same place.

There are things with this dude that seem individually impossible, like it's impossible to be 7 foot 3, 7 foot 4 and handle the ball like that. It's impossible to be that long. It's impossible to be that tall and that coordinated, like because those things are typically kind of 0 sum. I don't understand, Vinny, what is going on.

VINCENT GOODWILL: And here's the other thing, because we watched big Vic's first game. And he walked by us in like the little tunnel area. He looks every bit of seven-fold. He makes regular tall dudes like, Bo, you are every bit a 6-fold.

BOMANI JONES: He's a legitimate foot taller than me. How about that? How about that? I'm feeling like I'm in that picture of Bugsy Balls and the Duke [? ball. ?]

VINCENT GOODWILL: With three basketballs. Like we're just saying basic offensive plays that dudes his size are not supposed to do. He is a rookie.