Joel Embiid offers some advice to Victor Wembanyama as his rookie season inconsistencies continue.
It's been an up-and-down first half of a rookie season for San Antonio Spurs star Victor Wembanyama but based on his skill set alone and what he's shown through the first 30 games of this season, the sky is the limit. More often than not, Wembanyama looks like the generational talent many believed he'd be coming into the league.
Heading into the 2023 NBA Draft, there weren't many comparisons for Wembanyama but at least to a certain extent, there was some Joel Embiid in him. Embiid is one of the most skilled big men in the NBA today, so it's no surprise that was a natural comparison for Wembanauyma.
Even then, Wembanyama has proven to be a whole different level of prospect in terms of raw potential.
However, when asked to give advice to Wembanyama, Philadelphia 76ers star center Joel Embiid was quite direct. He didn't beat around the bush and might've said out loud what no one else was willing to say but perhaps what many were thinking.
"I think, first of all, he has to figure out where he wants to play, whether he wants to be a guard or a big or whatever. It’s not necessarily whether he wants to be a guard or a big; it’s what he wants to become. Do you want to become KD, or do you want to become me? Not KD, or like a version of those guys — you want to combine everything. Right now, I just feel like everything kind of feels a little forced, in the way that he’s playing."- Joel Embiid on Victor Wembanyama
There's an argument to be made that Wembanyama's biggest "issue" right now is not his efficiency numbers or shooting percentages. Instead, it's the fact that he doesn't really know what he wants to be at the NBA level. And it's hard to blame him for that.
Wembanyama is still just 19 years old and is still growing as a young prospect. It'd be entirely unfair to expect him to be a finished product right now, at this point in his career. If we remember during the entire pre-draft process, it was almost impossible to find an NBA comparison for Wembanyama. Not just because of his size and athleticism, but also because of his impressive and unprecedented skill set.
Maybe that's part of what Embiid is trying to say. Maybe for Wembanyama to find his comfort zone in the NBA, he's going to have to choose a more traditional path until the rest of his skills are more polished.
It's tough to say that these comments are a knock on Wembanyama. At the same time, there is some truth to the fact that Wembanyama might be better off trying to identify what he's most comfortable being - a wing player or a big man. There are times when he'll have the ability to be both but even in today's evolved position-less NBA, there is value in embracing a position and play style. Maybe that's what Wembanyama should focus on during the second half of his rookie campaign.