Victor Wembanyama is already a reality. After last Thursday’s NBA Draft, what everyone knew from the lottery results happened. Wembanyama will play for the San Antonio Spurs after being selected first overall pick.
Following the entry into the league of the greatest prospect in history next to LeBron James, many doubts arise in relation to what will be his performance in the NBA. Everyone has been able to see him with the Metropolitans 92 in France, but the NBA is a totally different league. Many great players were destined to reign in the league and have finally come to nothing.
Wembanyama’s case is certainly unprecedented. Never in history has there been a player like him. A player who is 2.24 meters tall and who is able to handle the ball with tremendous ease. But let’s take a closer look at the young French center.
Offensively, he is a beast. In addition to that privileged physique, he has a good shot. This combination makes him lethal from long distance, since, from so high up, it is almost impossible to block him. This can be reflected in the 20.8 points he averaged last season in the LNB.
Despite being such a tall player, the ball doesn’t burn in his hands. Wemby is a very skilled player considering his height. To all this, we have to add that he is an excellent creator of his own shots.
This great amount of resources that he has in his arsenal, makes us liken him, saving the distances, with Kevin Durant. An unique player who does things that are out of character for his size. Another more realistic comparison could be the version we’ve seen of Kristaps Porziņģis on the Knicks.
It’s not all positives though, as one thing he has to improve on is his shot selection. We are not all Stephen Curry or Kobe Bryant to be able to sink shots with defenders in front of us. This is a facet of his game that must improve and who better person to instill these little touches of basketball as Gregg Popovich, a living legend of the NBA bench.
On the defensive end, Wembanyama has proven to be a very reliable player, both in the paint and on the perimeter. He averaged 10.4 rebounds and three blocks per game last season. Despite his height, he is a fairly quick player, which also allows him to be a more than adequate defender on the perimeter.
The doubt that all of us basketball fans have in our heads right now regarding this player comes because of his physique. Despite being a tall player, he is very thin. This is something that an NBA center can’t afford, otherwise he’s going to get eaten up in the paint.
Undoubtedly, with all the resources he has, he is more than gifted to have an immediate impact in the league, but I’m looking forward to see how he performs with his physique against players like Joel Embiid, where the difference in kilos is quite large.
Despite this, physique is something that can be achieved with training. This can be seen in the case of Antetokounmpo, who when he entered in the NBA was thin and now is a physical prodigy. The moment he improves, he will be an unstoppable machine.
Another question mark surrounding Wembanyama in recent days is whether he will perform under pressure. This arises from a shooting practice that the player performed in front of the press, days after being selected in the draft and in which he only scores dunks and misses all the shots, despite the whole hall being empty.
This is also something he needs to improve. In the San Antonio Spurs, they are well aware of his potential and are working very well when it comes to taking the French player. From the organization, he has been mentored by the mythical big three that led the team to a large number of rings formed by Toni Parker, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili.
They have even taken the Frenchman to a dinner with club legends such as Tim Duncan, David Robinson, Manu Ginobili and Sean Elliott, from which the young man came away saying that he had learned more about the NBA in that one hour of dinner than in his entire life.
Wembanyama’s arrival in the league is a very positive point for the NBA as an organization. He has automatically become the young face of the league, which is what they needed. This is because their last attempts haven’t gone very well, as the former Adam Silver figures were Zion and Ja Morant, both of whom have been involved in many extra-sporting controversies, such as infidelities and the exhibition of weapons by social networks, respectively.
From ESPN, they already place him as the fourth best player for this season, ahead of players like Curry or the current MVP, Joel Embiid. Big words that represents the great hype that the rookie player has.
If I had to make a decision, I would say that Wembanyama will have an immediate impact in the league, either because of the ideal environment as the Spurs lack a leader, or because of the great quality he has. I think he will win the Rookie of the Year (ROY), although this is something that seems like it will be obvious, but I think the fight for this trophy will be tighter than it seems with Scoot Henderson.
We will have to wait for the start of the season to see how the center adapts to the NBA and see if he lives up to expectations.
Main image: @spurs.