TNT’s Kenny Smith says Victor Wembanyama will win MVP in Year 4

Victor Wembanyama shoots Justin Minaya of the Portland Trail Blazers Photo: John Locher (AP)

Hyperbole often rules the day in sports media in the social media era. Everyone almost subconsciously tries to go viral in every waking moment. Enter former NBA player and current TNT analyst Kenny Smith. While calling out this week’s summer league game, Victor Wembanyama’s name popped up in conversation, and Smith went as far as he could. The two-time NBA champion stated that Wemby would be the association’s MVP in his fourth year.

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“In year four, he’ll be league MVP.”

No one else on the broadcast wanted to go that far and appear shocked by Kenny’s prediction. This is something we see a lot lately. Placed high expectations on these young players upon entering the league and then undermined them when they failed to deliver on those predictions.

We have seen this recently with Luka Dončić who was favored by many to win the MVP three of his first five years in the NBA. As great as Luka is, it still hasn’t happened. In each of his five seasons in the association, another international has stepped in to steal the award ahead of Dončić. Giannis Antetokounmpo (2x), Nikola Jokić (2x), and Joel Embiid have won the MVP award in the last five years.

Now most have come back to their senses picking Dončić as the clear MVP favorite. That’s not to say he’ll never win MVP, but it may be a few more years before he achieves this feat. Likewise with Wembanyama. There’s a very good chance he’ll win multiple MVP awards over the course of his career, but the chances of that happening in his fourth year are slim. San Antonio may be ready to start winning again by then.

Most people see Wemby as a mainstay in the NBA and at least an All-Star caliber player. Some thought he was destined to be the next face in the league, but it’s clear that he has the skills to mingle with the big boys. Once he puts a little more meat on his bones, he could be hell for even the best defenders to face.

As for Smith’s comments, it’s Kenny Smith. He was paid to analyze, give his opinion, and occasionally say something nonsensical. If you’ve watched him Inside the NBA on TNT for the last two decades, you know he can be as crazy as Shaquille O’Neal or Charles Barkley when he wants to be. Whether the former North Carolina Tar Heel sticks to his predictions is a story for another day. We may have to wait until October when Inside the NBA returns, and they make all the predictions along with Ernie Johnson.

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