Jerry West Reveals The Biggest Difference Between Victor Wembanyama and Kobe Bryant at 19 Years of Age
Few people in NBA history have been as successful as Jerry West at identifying talented players. He has been an influential league leader since the 1980s and has had a lot of success in his career. He was the person who took a big risk by choosing a teenager Kobe Bryant from high school in 1996 because he believed Bryant had the potential to be extraordinary.
West had the opportunity to closely observe Bryant’s skills for many years, and he thinks that when Bryant was 19 years old, he was more advanced than Victor Wembanyama is currently.
Jerry West on Kobe Bryant vs Victor Wembanyama
“Kobe was more advanced, he wasn’t that height, he wasn’t… body was bigger but they both bring a different kind of excitement to the game,” West said on The Dan Patrick Show.
Bryant wasn’t as tall as Wembanyama, but West thinks Bryant’s skills were better. West knows both players well. He watched Bryant closely during his time with the Lakers. When Bryant was 19 years old in 1997-98, he scored an average of 15.4 points, 3.1 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 0.9 steals, and 0.5 blocks per game. Fans liked him, and he was chosen to start in the All-Star game in 1998.
Jerry West compares Wembanyama to Bill Russell
Even though West thinks Kobe was better at the same age, it doesn’t mean he doesn’t think highly of Wembanyama. He gave Wembanyama a great compliment by saying he reminds him of a taller Bill Russell.
“You rarely see someone that combines his brain and his ability. Just watching him play, it’s an easy game for him to play, very easy and it never looks like he is working. If you watch really great players, it never looks like they’re working hard. When you watch him defensively, he ruins games. He reminds me a little bit of a bigger Bill Russell with a big reach, coming from everywhere… any offensive player is gonna have to be really cautious about where he is because he’s gonna mess up some offenses that’s for sure,” he said.
Wembanyama was great at blocking shots in the Summer League. He blocked an average of 4.0 shots per game in his two games. He might become one of the best shot blockers in the league soon.