Victor Wembanyama, best draft prospect in 2023, best since LeBron, Kevin Durant XXL, analysis, tanking
If you thought there were a few teams happy to lose last NBA season, wait until you see the next one.
A generational draft prospect looms in the class of 2023, with French big man Victor Wembanyama described as a “one-of-a-kind prospect, a franchise changer and a future NBA MVP as long as he can stay healthy. by ESPN’s Mike Schmitz.
He and his colleague Jonathan Givony said that Wembanyama is one of, if not the most talented NBA prospect they’ve ever scouted.
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Standing 7’3″ (220cm) with a wingspan of 7’9″ (236cm) and a standing reach of 9’7″ (292cm), he’s the kind of weird all-around talent you’d create in a video game .
Imagine: an 18-year-old player with the qualities of a guard, but the odd size to be a defensive player of the year in the mold of his compatriot Rudy Gobert. Oh, and he can shoot three times.
(Side note: Gobert, Wembanyama and Joel Embiid’s potential to upgrade from Cameroon to France in time for the 2024 Olympics will make the host country a real gold medal prospect.)
As Patrick Redford of Defector wrote: “He’s, uh, Rudy Gobert with a better version of Karl-Anthony Towns’ offensive skills? Kevin Durant XXL? An even bigger Giannis Antetokounmpo without any weakness?
“Not only are none of them quite right, but it’s almost impossible to imagine any of these speculative players, because we’ve never seen anything like it.
“Which means: Wembanyama is as exciting a prospect as at least LeBron James.”
The teenager set the record for most blocks per game in a FIBA Tournament with an average of 5.7, as well as 14 points and 7.4 rebounds, as France won silver in the the Under-19 World Cup last year.
Despite his age, he has already played at the highest level in Europe. In the last 10 EuroLeague and France Pro A games, he’s averaging 13 points, 5.9 rebounds and 2.5 blocks in 21.6 minutes – that’s against men, not kids – while shooting 63% from two points and 50% from three.
In a mock draft of 2023 released last weekend, ESPN understandably advised him to go first.
“ASVEL releases him with off-ball screens like a wing, unleashing his feathery shooting touch,” Schmitz wrote.
“With his exposed grip and footwork, he sometimes looked like a bigger Kevin Durant as he splashed self-created 3 step backs. It begins to add a more forward midpost package, fading into back-shoulder turnovers with incredible ease. It happens to lobs that no other player on the planet could even think of.
“On top of that he protects the rim at an elite level – well ahead of Rudy Gobert at the same stage – while showing the ability to get out and through to guards unlike any player we’ve ever seen at his height. .”
In addition to Wembanyama’s prospects of becoming No. 1, the past few years prove that you can take impressive international prospects and expect their games to translate to the NBA.
Josh Giddey (pick 6 last year) and LaMelo Ball (pick 3 in 2020) are the NBL’s most recent examples, while Luka Doncic went straight from teenage EuroLeague MVP to American superstar .
And it’s not even worth trying to figure out which teams would be most interested in Wembanyama – everyone would be. Everyone can integrate a player of his monstrous talent.
It could be that Oklahoma City, Detroit, Orlando or Houston, or indeed any team struggling next season, decides tanking is in order faster than usual because of the Frenchman. The NBA lottery’s adjusted odds, which give the top three teams equal odds at 14% of the first pick, won’t do much to stop that.
After all, more people play the lottery when the prize is huge. A 14% chance of having a franchise-changing talent is worth the bet.