Every year, the media goes crazy with draft pick speculations and trying to find the next Michael Jordan. Indeed, picks and speculation cover every aspect of the game, including NBA picks for games, playoff contenders, and awards like the MVP. We love to argue and try to predict the future!
One thing that everyone seems to agree on, however, is the potential of a 19-year-old Frenchman and his NBA potential. It is universally accepted that Victor Wembanyama is going to be incredible. I don’t think I can remember more hype surrounding a player¾and that’s saying something when we experienced what happened with Zion Williamson at Duke.
So, let’s jump on the bandwagon and take a look at Victor Wembanyama. What makes him so special and why is it believed that NBA teams are tanking hard just for the chance to acquire him in the NBA Draft?
Player Profile¾A True Basketball Unicorn
Victor Wembanyama is what we term a basketball unicorn. This term was coined by Kristaps Porzingis, who was the original unicorn and who, indeed, has similarities to Wembanyama. However, Victor is poised to be superior to Porzingis in every way. Here are some basic facts about the Frenchman
- Height: 7ft2 “
- Born: January 2004
- From: Le Chesnay, France
Standing at 7ft2 “, Wembanyama has an immediate advantage. However, unlike many 7-footers, he actually has amazing skill, ball handling, control, and agility. He has a silky-smooth jump shot, a variety of moves¾including step backs¾and can easily take the ball coast to coast and finish at the rim. His offense looks to be incredible, and many people have drawn parallels with Kevin Durant due to his ability to simply shoot over opposing players due to his height.
That’s just one aspect of his game. From what we have seen,Wembanyama is also an excellent defender and rim protector. He competed in both the high jump and long jump from an early age and thus, has good leaping abilities. This makes him a competent shot blocker.
Furthermore, unlike many lumbering big men, Victor has the capability to stay with smaller and faster guards and not simply get blown by. Essentially, he can do it all and looks to be potent offensively and defensively. His play is sure to ignite fans and we are excited to see what he can do.
Professional Career¾Success in France
Wembanyama has been playing professional basketball since the age of 17 and started with Nanterre 92 from 2019-2021. He broke various records here and was the second-youngest player to play in the EuroCup, after legend Stefan Petkovic.
In 2021, he signed with ASVEL of the Pro A/Euro League and had decent success, although he didn’t play too many games due to injury and illness. It was the 2022-23 Pro A season and his signing with the Metropolitans 92 that saw him become a household name. This season, he was easily one of the best players in the league and helped his team with excellent offensive and defensive performances.
This includes an All-Star appearance where he became the youngest All-Star game MVP ever, with an amazing 27pt/12 rbd performance. His current professional honors include
- 2022 Pro A Champion
- 2022 LNB All-Star Game MVP
- 2x LNB All-Star
- 2x Pro A Best Young Player
It is expected that Wembanyama will enter the 2023 NBA Draft, and this has led to speculation that many NBA teams, like the San Antonio Spurs, are tanking on purpose to secure a better chance of drafting this once-in-a-generation talent. One thing’s for certain¾his NBA draft journey is sure to be watched by millions.
Potential Causes for Concern¾Injuries and Expectation
Although Wembanyama is seen as an incredible prospect (some see him as the best draft prospect since LeBron James) his NBA career isn’t certain.
While standing at 7ft2 “, the Frenchman is relatively thin and doesn’t have a bulky frame. Some, therefore, believe that his impact in the NBA could be limited. Furthermore, super-tall NBA players are much more prone to injuries, particularly with their feet.
We only have to look at rookie Chet Holmgren to see how this can completely sideline careers. Hopefully, this won’t happen with Wembanyama, and he has already proved that he is relatively durable. He has had injuries, but nothing has seemed too drastic.
I can’t personally remember when there has been this much hype surrounding the NBA and a draft prospect. This type of player only comes around every so often, and hopefully, it will be incredible to see what Wembanyama does and if he has success in the NBA as everyone is predicting. At just 19 years old, this kid hopefully has a long future, and I will watch his career with great interest!