ESPN snubs Wembanyama, misses the mark with young player rankings

San Antonio Spurs v Indiana Pacers
San Antonio Spurs v Indiana Pacers / Dylan Buell/GettyImages

ESPN recently published its annual "25 under 25" list, which features promising youngsters who have made a tremendous impact in the NBA. Their latest list placed Victor Wembanyama third behind Luka Doncic and Anthony Edwards. The French superstar, who has commanded national headlines for his limitless potential, has already dominated both ends of the floor, blocking three-pointers and scoring 38 points in a single game at just 19-years-old.

While earning the third spot on a list of the most promising prospects in the league is an impressive feat, Wembanyama has unique abilities that set him apart from the field. The young forward entered the association with sky-high expectations and has met and exceeded them during the early stages of his career. The bar the media set for him is higher than we have ever seen, so you can bet he won't settle for bronze here.

Some fans might think it sounds like splitting hairs, but there is a case that he should be even higher. Whenever the Big Croissant is on the court, the San Antonio Spurs boast a league-average defense. Without Victor, they become one of the worst defensive teams in NBA history. His dominance stands out from the pack because he leads an inexperienced group trying to find its footing.

The Silver and Black have the youngest roster in the NBA, and their tried-and-true coaching staff has committed to experimenting with unorthodox lineups. Though there is nothing wrong with this tactic since it could foster development from the other members of their core, it has not necessarily been beneficial for winning. There have been several growing pains, and Wembanyama has fought through that adversity to put forth an all-time performance.

With how the Dallas Mavericks have opened the season, it is no surprise to see an MVP candidate like Luka Doncic at the top of this list. However, how can we not question the decision to cement Anthony Edwards above Wembanyama? He has been an electrifying scorer for the Minnesota Timberwolves, but there are so many areas where he can improve, such as defense and playmaking.

Wembanyama can not only match Edwards in defensive talent but exceed him. Everyone knows what he does from a rim-protection standpoint, and there is a wide gap between his impact and the other players on this list. Victor is in the race for Defensive Players of the Year. And if he keeps up his enormous nightly numbers, he could become the youngest player in league history to make an All-Defensive Team.

Victor Wembanyama is also impressive on offense. He moves gracefully, shoots from long range, and finishes with authority. Though there are a few areas the teenage centerpiece could afford to polish, he has enough talent on this end to alter opposing game plans. You can almost guarantee his name will be at the top of this list very soon, and he should leave his mark on the record books for years to come.