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2023 NBA Draft Prospect Victor Wembanyama Is All-Time Prospect


MADRID, SPAIN – MARCH 17: Victor Wembanyama, #1 of LDLC Asvel Villeurbanne is challenged by Nigel … [+] Williams-Goss, #0 of Real Madrid throughout the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague match between Real Madrid and LDLC Asvel Villeurbanne at Wizink Center on March 17, 2022 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Angel Martinez/Euroleague Basketball via Getty Images)

Euroleague Basketball via Getty Images

Victor Wembanyama is a reputation NBA fans will get quite acquainted with over the subsequent 12 months, even before he becomes the primary overall selection within the 2023 NBA Draft.

(And will he – against all odds – not be the highest pick, the NBA can have one other Luka Dončić situation on their hands, as he was chosen third in 2018 despite clearly being the very best prospect in your complete draft on the time.)

Wembanyama is a tall, versatile center, who plays like a guard. Just how tall is the 18-year-old Frenchman? We can’t know exactly before he gets measured on the draft mix. He’s currently listed at 7’3, but some inside the industry wonder if he’s closer to 7’5.

The talent level

What makes Wembanyama such a generational talent, you would possibly wonder. In any case, he only averaged 9.4 points and 5.1 rebounds last season for ASVEL within the French LNB Pro A league, and 6.5 points and three.8 rebounds in Euroleague.

Well, there’s the primary mistake. Stats in Europe are historically not an ideal indicator of future success, particularly as a consequence of the low amount of minutes players are likely to play. It isn’t unusual for stars to play not more than 23-25 minutes per game. Wembanyama, during French league play, received 18.4 minutes per game, which now puts into contrast how impressive his line actually was, especially provided that he played the vast majority of the season at age 17.

As such, let’s adjust his LNB numbers to Per36-minute, which supplies us a better estimate of what he would have produced if given NBA starter minutes.

18.4 points, 10.0 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.7 steals, and three.5 blocks.

A lot better, right?

Only, those stats still don’t tell the entire story. 50 of his 131 shot attempts were from downtown, which dragged down his efficiency. Wembanyama hit 26% of his outside attempts, but converted on 60.5% on all his two-point shots.

It’s value bringing up that Wembanyama also took three-pointers in a wide range of ways. He sported the flexibility to spot-up, dribble his way into three-point attempts, and even hitting the occasional step-back. For a player who’s (a minimum of) 7’3, that is absolutely absurd.

Defensively, Wembanyama projects to be elite at any level, even to the purpose where he could have similar impact as Rudy Gobert, top-of-the-line defenders within the history of the sport. Wembanyama reportedly has a 7’10 wingspan, and he’s putting it to good use. He has the flexibility to each guard his own man, and swat away shots from opponents, suddenly.

His fluidity on the perimeter, where he’s already far superior to Gobert, allows him to incessantly switch and effectively stick with smaller players. Obviously, he cannot be tasked with guarding players similar to Stephen Curry or Ja Morant for longer stretches, but he can come out to hedge high, and still have time to rotate back to his man near the rim.

In actual fact, Wembanyama’s future NBA head coach will have the opportunity to tailor a defense entirely around the middle.

Offensively, he’s rather more than a shooter. Because of his size, he’s an obvious lob goal and rim-roller, however the fun doesn’t stop there. He’s currently being taught counter-moves within the post, and seems determined to make use of his size advantage near the rim moving forward, thus not shying away from the indisputable fact that he’s incredibly tall.

It’ll take just a few years for Wembanyama to fill out his frame. He’s currently between 200 and 210 kilos, which is largely the burden level to your average 6’3 point guard. He might want to add around 40-50 kilos, not entirely dissimilar to what Giannis Antetokounmpo did, to achieve his peak physical condition.

Fortunately, his physical frame and broad shoulders should have the opportunity to support such a bodily expansion.

Future & NBA Perspective

Wembanyama modified teams this summer, going from ASVEL to Metropolitans 92. He handled quite just a few injuries at ASVEL, missing the playoffs last season because of this of them, and seems to prefer a fresh start near Paris, as he focuses on his development, and certain what will probably be the ultimate 12 months before hitting the NBA.

Teams are all very aware of the tall Frenchman, and a few – just like the San Antonio Spurs – are gearing up for a foul season to essentially tank for him. After all, nothing is guaranteed as even the worst team within the league only stands a 14% likelihood at winning the lottery. That said, do not be surprised if more teams resolve to go all-in on the ping pong balls near the trade deadline, after they realize they haven’t got a fighting likelihood at getting a Top 6 seed and a secured spot within the postseason.

Moreover, do not be surprised if teams loaded with future first-round picks offer up most of them in trade-up scenarios. Wembanyama is a once in a lifetime prospect, who could feasibly turn a team’s fortunes around by becoming some of the productive two-way centers in all of basketball.

Unless noted otherwise, all stats via NBA.com, PBPStats, Cleansing the Glass or Basketball-Reference. All salary information via Spotrac. All odds via FanDuel Sportsbook.

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