Most Hyped NBA Draft Prospects in Recent History

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Victor Wembanyama is one of the most hyped NBA draft prospects in recent history. Noah looks back at other hyped draft prospects in the past 20 seasons.

The 2023 NBA Draft might be a league-defining draft. That is because of the hype surrounding French prospect Victor Wembanyama, a 7’3” center who can do it all. He is expected to be the number one pick in next year’s draft, and everyone is already talking about him.

Wembanyama might be one of the most hyped-up draft prospects in NBA history. Let’s look at some of the other hyped NBA draft prospects in recent history. We will look at the hype surrounding them and whether or not they lived up to expectations.

Zion Williamson

We first saw video highlights of Zion dunking in high school, but it was not until he arrived at Duke that Zion Williamson mesmerized fans with his tremendous athletic ability. Zion united with two other top draft prospects at the time, R.J. Barrett and Cam Reddish. The trio made Duke one of the most exciting teams to watch in college basketball.

Fans were amazed not only by his strength and size, but the speed at which he played. Many teams were hoping to get the number one pick to draft Williamson. The New Orleans Pelicans were the team lucky enough to draft him.

It is hard to say whether or not Zion Williamson has lived up to career expectations. He is obviously a tremendously talented athlete. He has had one All-Star selection in a season in which he put up stats similar to Shaquille O’Neal. However, Zion has had a difficult time staying healthy in his young career. His talent seems to be headed in the right direction, so if he can improve his health, he could be on pace to be one of the all-time greats.

Lonzo Ball

Lonzo Ball was not drafted as the number one overall pick in his draft, but there was still a tremendous amount of hype surrounding him. The UCLA point guard had been an LA boy his whole life. Fans were very impressed with his passing ability and IQ for the game. When there came an opportunity for the Los Angeles Lakers to draft the UCLA star, they did not hesitate.
Lonzo’s father Lavar Ball definitely hyped up his son to be a future Hall-of-Famer, but the early play we saw from Ball also supported these beliefs. Lonzo won the Summer League MVP the year he was drafted and led his summer league team to a tournament victory. There was a great deal of hope that he could translate this into the NBA and save a Lakers team that had been struggling for several seasons.

Considering that Magic Johnson told Lonzo Ball that he expects his jersey to be in the rafters one day, Lonzo has not quite lived up to expectations. Lonzo is not currently on the Hall-of-Fame track or even on track to be an All-Star for that matter, but he is still a very good player. He provides tremendous value for the Chicago Bulls as their primary playmaker. Lonzo has also significantly improved his three-point shot since entering the league.

LeBron James

There may never be another athlete in sports history who was as hyped as LeBron James entering the league. As a high school player, LeBron graced the cover of Sports Illustrated. He earned the nickname “The Chosen One”, indicating that he was destined to bring tremendous fortune to an NBA team in the future. LeBron was drafted number one overall out of highschool by the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Entering the league, there was an expectation that LeBron James would become an NBA superstar. If he did not, then he would be considered a bust.

Not only did LeBron live up to the high expectations surrounding his NBA arrival, he exceeded them. While many expected LeBron to become a superstar and possibly a Hall-of-Famer, LeBron has become an all-time great. He is easily a top five player in NBA history and could be considered the greatest player of all-time. Even in his 20th season in the NBA, LeBron is still going strong.

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