NBA – Tanking, title race: How Victor Wembanyama will impact the whole league even without playing

NBA – Tanking, title race: How Victor Wembanyama will impact the whole league even without playing



Without the showman potato triggered by Draymond Green to knock out his teammate Jordan Poole, the American media would undoubtedly still be discussing the future of Victor Wembanyama. For a few days, they had only one name in their mouths. That of the 18-year-old French player, visiting his Boulogne-Levallois club in Las Vegas for two exhibition matches against the G-League Ignite last week. Two friendly meetings but above all two demonstrations of the young man, who buried for good his status as the most talented and above all the most coveted prospect in the world.

Victor Wembanyama? “An alien”

More than 200 scouts and leaders gathered for the event and they came out with the belief that the Chesnay native would be the next top pick in the NBA Draft. To the point where some franchise managers even asked his agent Bouna N’Diaye not to let him play for the whole season! Season which has just started in France. They’ve seen enough. 37 points in the first match, taking the upper hand in his distance duel with Scoot Henderson, American star announced in second position for the next draft. Then 36 in the second. With each time counters, three-point baskets and other breathtaking actions. Wembanyama could not play a single minute and still be the first player called up by Adam Silver in June. This is to say how huge the “hype” is. Undoubtedly unprecedented. “He’s the greatest prospect in history.”dares even Adrian Wojnarowski.


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His daunting performances eclipsed all other basketball news as Zion Williamson, a highly publicized player even before his arrival in the NBA, made his comeback on the court the evening of one of the Metropolitans’ pivot cards. Even the stars of the league, in the midst of a recovery phase, have all been polled about the guy. Giannis Antetokounmpo called him “amazing player, never seen before.“Kevin Durant considers for his part that the teams will have”very serious problems“when the Frenchman crosses the Atlantic. LeBron James speaks”of an alien. No one has ever seen someone as tall as him be so smooth and graceful. It is for sure a generational talent.“And he knows a ray of generational talent. Victor Wembanyama is undoubtedly the most anticipated prospect since the King. Without doubt the most anticipated in history since social networks did not occupy the same place in our lives at the when the native of Akron arrived at the pros, in 2003.

If LeBron was the same age as Victor, he would still be drafted after him“Says Richard Jefferson, ex-teammate of James, bluntly. Sacred debate. But already, what you have to understand is that that does not mean that Wembanyama is necessarily the most talented prospect of all time. discussions are not completely about his actual level of play today but rather about the perception that NBA officials have of him, in addition obviously to what they imagine him capable of becoming. “Such fluid movement and such pure outside address is unprecedented. It’s what makes him the most anticipated prospect. And it’s going to have a big impact on the coming season.”

An unprecedented impact on the NBA for a young prospect

Victor alters the reality of basketball. The transfer and tanking market will be turned upside down after this performance. We are going to have a race for the absolutely historic last place“, confided for example a GM. The commissioner of the league Adam Silver even went there with his comment by calling on the teams not to scuttle themselves to maximize the chances of drafting the prodigy. He certainly knows that it is a waste of time Still according to Wojnarowski, the simple fact of recovering the Frenchman could increase the value of an organization by around 500 million dollars! not every year and many franchises won’t want to miss out.

LeBron James, looking admiring, in front of Victor Wembanyama, favorite for the “spot” of n ° 1 of the NBA draft 2023

Credit: Eurosport

The Jazz and the Spurs have focused their entire season on the barely concealed goal of hitting the jackpot in the draft. Utah separated from its two superstars – Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell – by recovering 7 picks in return. San Antonio traded their best player, Dejounte Murray, for 3 draft rounds without signing any impact veterans in the offseason. Orlando, Detroit, Houston and Oklahoma City are in reconstruction and will not be insensitive to the idea of ​​adding a talent of Wembanyama’s caliber to their project. Indiana should yield two veterans, Buddy Hield and Myles Turner, to squat the shallows in the East. Charlotte and Washington can go down the NBA chessboard quite easily. Will even a team like Chicago be tempted to push DeMar DeRozan, Zach LaVine and/or Nikola Vucevic to aim for the bottom of the standings rather than fight for a hypothetical eighth place in the East? Some teams are one injury or one transfer away from being able to finish among the last of the season. And with the possibility of such a reward at the end, it makes you think. Much more than usual.

There could be a championship split in two: one half with high ambitions (playoffs, title) and the other looking to finish with an unflattering record to win the lottery. Almost without middle ground. And it will also impact the race for the trophy. Quality veterans like Mike Conley, Jordan Clarkson (Jazz), Eric Gordon (Rockets), Buddy Hield, Myles Turner (Pacers) and many more will soon be brought to market by these teams dreaming of the inside of the future. But today, when he has not yet set foot in the NBA, Victor Wembanyama is upsetting not only the destiny of a franchise but of the entire league. The Wemba-mania has only just begun.


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