In soccer there are those that will argue Diego Maradona was the greatest to have ever lived, others who will not hear a bad word said about the late Pele and then the more contemporary fans who espouse the virtues of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
In basketball there is simply no debate to be had. Michael Jordan was and is the greatest of all-time and for the time being, no-one comes close to reaching MJ’s levels. That doesn’t mean that the NBA isn’t absolutely teaming with talent though; quite the opposite actually.
In homage to that we’ve compiled a list of 5 players that, whilst they might not ever live up to Michael Jordan’s legacy, will undoubtedly be fighting it out for the MVP award for the next decade or so.
Position: Power Forward/Center
CurrentTeam: Metropolitans 92
There’s often a lot of talk about hot prospects ahead of the NBA Draft but there has perhaps never been a bigger clamour before than the one surrounding French power forward Victor Wembanyama.
In October, Wembanyama’s side came to Nevada to play The G League Ignite in two exhibition games and amongst the crowd were 200 NBA scouts. Some had come to watch Sterling ‘Scoot’ Henderson but the majority were there to see Wembanyama and the young Frenchman didn’t disappoint.
He scored 37 points in a 122-115 loss including 7 three-pointers from 11 attempts and demonstrated exceptional technique and poise. Now to the elephant in the room, or more aptly the giraffe, Victor Wembanyama is a staggering 7 foot 4.
That insane height combined with his undoubted talent has led to some referring to him as a ‘once-in-a-millennium’ talent. What were we saying about no one ever coming close to Michael Jordan’s legacy again? Can you get NBA odds on the next MJ?
(Wembanyam is literally the biggest thing to have come out of France.)
Sterling ‘Scoot’ Henderson
Position: Point Guard
CurrentTeam: G League Ignite
At just 6 foot 2, Scoot Henderson is just a pygmy in comparison to Victor Wembanyama, but in terms of talent and skill the two are equals. Henderson, a 19-year-old from Marietta, Georgia signed professional terms at 17 when he joined the G League on a two-year deal.
Since then he has performed consistently excellently, drawing comparisons with Russell Westbrook and John Wall. Henderson is keen to shrug these comparisons off and instead focus on becoming a player in his own right.
What has excited scouts more than anything about Henderson is his mentality, in particular his dedication to individual improvement and growth. If he can avoid injuries and the allures of money and fame, young Scoot Henderson could be a sporting superstar in years to come.
Position: Small Forward
CurrentTeam: Alabama Crimson Tide
Alabama Crimson Tide have a strong tradition of sending talented youngsters to the NBA, but in Brandom Miller, there is a hope that the Crimson Tide could be sending a real superstar in the making to the big time.
In 2021 Miller was a five star recruit, but committed to staying with Crimson Tide, turning down offers from Kansas, Tennessee State and also tempting offers from the Australian NBL and the G League Ignite.
A scintillating dribbler and adept shooter, Miller is also a supreme athlete who has a big future ahead of him.
(Brandon Miller doing Brandon Miller things.)
CurrentTeam: Villanova Wildcats
The penultiamte name on our list is 18-year-old Cameron Whitmore from Villanova Wildcats. At just 18, Whitmore’s large and strong frame belies his age, as does his maturity on the court.
As well as possessing real talent with the ball in hand, Whitmore also thunders around the court like a steam train, bursting past opponents with ease. If he want to go from one end of the court to the other, there’s relatively few ways to stop him legally.
Whether he will be able to bully opponents to the same extent in the NBA is a different matter altogether, but if he keeps progressing at a similar rate then there’s no reason to suggest he won’t.
Position: Shooting Guard
CurrentTeam: Overtime Elite
Not everyone has to take the same route as Amen Thomson has proved by opting for the Overtime League instead of college. There the 20-year-old has caught the attention of scouts with his elite athleticism and his dazzling passing range.
He is explosive off the first step and has an insane leap (we’re talking Victor Wembanyama levels of high) and has a knack for knowing how to break defenders down and when to slow down or speed up his game.
Thompson plays with a level of maturity that you would expect for someone three or four years older, which suggests the transition from Overtime Elite to the NBA will be a smooth one.
(Amen Thompson’s skill, physicality and game knowledge will make him the bane of defenders lives.)