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2023 NBA Draft Prospect Victor Wembanyama Is All-Time Prospect

Victor Wembanyama is a name NBA fans will get quite acquainted with over the next year, even before he becomes the first overall selection in the 2023 NBA Draft.

(And should he – against all odds – not be the top pick, the NBA will have another Luka Dončić situation on their hands, as he was selected third in 2018 despite clearly being the best prospect in the entire draft at the time.)

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

The talent level

What makes Wembanyama such a generational talent, you might wonder. After all, he only averaged 9.4 points and 5.1 rebounds last season for ASVEL in the French LNB Pro A league, and 6.5 points and 3.8 rebounds in Euroleague.

Well, there’s the first mistake. Stats in Europe are historically not a great indicator of future success, particularly due to the low amount of minutes players tend to play. It’s not uncommon for stars to play no 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 given that he played the majority of the season at age 17.

As such, let’s adjust his LNB numbers to Per36-minute, which gives us a closer 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 3.5 blocks.

Much better, right?

Only, those stats still don’t tell the whole 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 worth bringing up that Wembanyama also took three-pointers in a variety of ways. He sported the ability to spot-up, dribble his way into three-point attempts, and even hitting the occasional step-back. For a player who is (at least) 7’3, that’s absolutely absurd.

Defensively, Wembanyama projects to be elite at any level, even to the point where he could have a similar impact as Rudy Gobert, one of the best defenders in the history of the game. Wembanyama reportedly has a 7’10 wingspan, and he’s putting it to good use. He has the ability to both guard his own man, and swat away shots from opponents, all at eleven.

His fluidity on the perimeter, where he’s already far superior to Gobert, allows him to frequently switch and effectively stay with smaller players. Obviously, he can’t be tasked with guarding players such as 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 fact, Wembanyama’s future NBA head coach will be able to tailor a defense entirely around the center.

Offensively, he’s much more than a shooter. Due to his size, he’s an obvious lob target and rim-roller, but the fun does not stop there. He’s currently being taught counter-moves in the post, and seems determined to use his size advantage near the rim moving forward, thus not shying away from the fact that he is incredibly tall.

It will take a few years for Wembanyama to fill out his frame. He’s currently between 200 and 210 pounds, which is basically the weight level for your average 6’3 point guard. He will need to add around 40-50 pounds, not entirely dissimilar to what Giannis Antetokounmpo did, to reach his peak physical condition.

Fortunately, his physical frame and broad shoulders should be able to support such a bodily expansion.

Future & NBA Perspective

Wembanyama changed teams this summer, going from ASVEL to Metropolitans 92. He dealt with quite a few injuries at ASVEL, missing the playoffs last season as a result of them, and seems to prefer a fresh start near Paris, as he focuses on his development , and likely what will be the final year before hitting the NBA.

Teams are all very familiar with the tall Frenchman, and some – like the San Antonio Spurs – are gearing up for a bad season to essentially tank for him. Of course, nothing is guaranteed as even the worst team in the league only stands a 14% chance at winning the lottery. That said, don’t be surprised if more teams decide to go all-in on the ping pong balls near the trade deadline, when they realize they don’t have a fighting chance at getting a Top 6 seed and a secured spot in the post-season.

Furthermore, don’t 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 one of the most productive two-way centers in all of basketball.

Unless noted otherwise, all stats via, PBPStats, Cleaning the Glass or Basketball Reference. All salary information via Spotrac. All odds via Fan Duel Sportsbook.


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