Victor Wembanyama is the definition of the total package – 7-foot-5, athletic, strong, skilful, can dunk on anyone but can also shoot the lights out from deep. And yet it’s a combination of that, along with some wild intangibles, that make this NBA Draft prospect otherworldly.
He’s been widely labeled the best Draft prospect since 2003, when a teenaged LeBron James had the league salivating over his potential.
But as we now enjoy the NBA post season, the elephant in the room is that the Draft isn’t far off either and for one lucky franchise, a trajectory-altering moment… most likely.
It’s been a topic within the basketball community for well over a year now, but the Frenchman is potentially six months away from his debut. And the hype just continues to grow.
So here’s everything you need to know about Wembanyama ahead of one of the most highly anticipated NBA Drafts.
Who is Victor Wembanyama and what makes him generational?
The 19-year-old French baller has been at the centre of Draft talks for a couple years now, since highlights of his dominance in Europe went viral on social media.
This season he’s been playing for Boulogne-Levallois in France, averaging insane numbers for someone in his league; just over 21 points per game, along with ten rebounds, two assists and three blocks.
It’s well known that NBA teams desperately want the rights to draft Victor Wembanyama, with potential tanking being a serious concern for the league heading into the 2022/23 season.
So much so that the Dallas Mavericks were fined a heavy total of $750,000 for resting star and key role players in their final few games, while still in the running to make the Play-In tournament. It’s a massive financial whack, but the 3% chance they now have of securing the first overall pick could ultimately be the investment of a lifetime.
This shows just how incredible of a talent Wembanyama is that NBA teams are willing to give up almost $1 Million dollars to have a slither of a shot at landed the most sought after prospect since LeBron.
And it comes as no surprise considering he’s taller than Rudy Gobert with a similar defensive presence, the build of a slightly stronger Kevin Durant and a shooting ability that no one over 7-foot possess.
Which franchises are a chance of drafting Victor Wembanyama?
It will all come down to the NBA Draft lottery, with tiered odds set up through teams’ inverted regular season records. The less wins across the 82-game regular season, the higher a franchise’s chances.
2023 NBA Draft lottery odds
Currently there are three NBA franchises tied on a 14% chance of landing the first overall pick, which would obviously be for Victor Wembanyama. Those teams are the Houston Rockets, San Antonio Spurs and Detroit Pistons.
Following those teams, the Charlotte Hornets are at 12.5%, then it’s Portland at 10.5% and the Orlando Magic at 9%.
The other teams technically in the running are Indiana, Washington, Utah, Dallas, Chicago, Oklahoma City, Toronto and New Orleans.
Wembanyama has said he doesn’t mind where he ends up, which is differs from some past first overall picks such as Zion Williamson who has shared that he wanted to go to the Knicks.
“There is no wrong team,” Victor Wembanyama told ESPN.com.
“I am not worried (about where I end up); there is no bad organisation. I never tell myself I don’t like to go there.”
With the NBA Draft lottery happening on May 17, the anticipation of where the Frenchman goes is climbing to its zenith, with many fans starting to use a lottery simulator to see what chance their side has of being the lucky team.
When is the 2023 NBA Draft lottery?
NBA Draft Lottery time & date: 9:00am AEST Wednesday May 17
Down under, the lottery will happen at 9:00am AEST on Wednesday May 17.
It’s scheduled for 7:00pm (Eastern) May 16 at the Barclays Center, New York.
It will be arguably the most anticipated Draft lottery we’ve ever seen. And that might not change for some time to come. On top of franchises learning of their fate with the top pick, prospect Scoot Henderson is an enormous consolation prize as well, for the team that lands the second pick.
What have NBA players and experts had to say about Victor Wembanyama?
There’s no doubting a basketball player’s talent when greats of the game and experts who have been around the league long enough say that someone is a generational talent.
Wembanyama has been praised by many of the best in the NBA including Steph Curry, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Kevin Durant.
Giannis went as far to say that he believes Wembanyama could be seen as one of the greatest basketball players of all time down the road.
“The way he can shoot the ball, the way he can move, he’s extremely fast for his size. He can block shots, can be a threat on the defensive end. He’s unbelievable,” Antetokounmpo said.
“He has the chance to be one of the best. Not just in his age or not (just) in Europe, one of the best to ever play this game, like we have never seen something like that before.”
ESPN’s Brian Windhorst has also watched Victor Wembanyama play over in Europe and is certain that this year’s draft lottery is going be special and similar to what happened 20-years ago.
“I do think it’s the most excited league executives have been about a prospect since LeBron.”
Some intangibles that make Victor Wembanyama even more special
Speaking on The Ringer NBA Show, Windhorst revealed some interesting nuggets about what caught his eye, when the pair spent some time together, earlier on in the process.
“(He’s) super smart, he learned to read at age three and graduated high school a year early,” he said.
“The nutritionists insisted that he eat five times a day.
“He’s basically done everything he can to develop to get the the NBA. His English is spectacular, he basically taught himself English. One of the things he’s most proud about this year is he read his first book in English.
“He’s very proud to be French, but he also recognises that the best basketball is in the United States and that’s where he wants to be.”
“He’s very much looking forward to coming to the United States.”