Ahead of each NBA Draft, experts and fans have a look at the top prospect to see who could possibly be the No. 1 pick in the draft. This year, France prospect Victor Wembanyama is the likely No. 1 pick for more reasons than one. He is 7-3 with an 8’0 wingspan and has natural basketball ability. He shoots the ball like Steph Curry and quickly goes into the paint on big guys. My main concern is whether he can put on more weight because it’s obvious the talent is there. My closest comparison would be Chet Holmgren because both of them are in a spot where they need to add more weight to succeed in today’s NBA.
I was shocked to discover that Wembanyama does not have his own personal trainer and didn’t play AAU basketball. Now, on Metropolitans 92, a professional team in France, he is continuing to dominate the competition he goes up against. I think he will only get better and put on more strength, and if he does that, it’s a problem for the rest of the league. His talent will help him be a consistent 15-20 PPG scorer in the league when he is healthy. Playing against the G League Ignite in Vegas only helped his development. While they aren’t an actual NBA team, it was good for him to showcase his skills against NBA-level talent. What he’s doing now is as rare as it gets, and in that time, he’s done an incredible job representing France and putting French basketball on the map.
I have never seen someone like Wembanyama since I started watching basketball. I think the fact he’s 7-3 and shoots it so naturally is the scariest thing. He’s not your average big man, and he’s so dangerous in so many ways, making him almost impossible to guard. For as talented as he is, for him to succeed in the league, he will have to add some weight and muscle so he doesn’t miss extended periods during the season. He’s also going to have to realize that teams are going to make him a considerable part of their game plan, so he’s going to have to adjust to what different teams are throwing at him in terms of defensive looks or double teams. If he adjusts to this, he could be one of the best players to come through the league.
Wembanyama had already gone viral before he stepped foot in the league. French prime minister Lionel Jospin recently attended one of his games in France. The hype is real in France, and I already feel it from watching two of his better games. He is putting French basketball on the map with his rise to the top and is already making France a favorite to win the Gold Medal in the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.
We all know prospects have much to learn before they step foot in the league. In Wembanyama’s case, he’s got more to learn than people think. He’s going to have to realize that all teams will make him a focal part of their game plans, and they will try to take his strengths away. He’s going to get doubled a lot, so he will have to adjust to double teams on the fly because most NBA teams are trying to double him. We all know that defense is big in today’s NBA because offenses are becoming more well-rounded. For Wembanyama to influence his team besides the offensive end, he will have to assert himself in the paint and be a formidable presence so opponents know that he’s there. With his length, he’s automatically going to get blocks, but in today’s NBA, only getting blocks can get you so far. He’s going to have to be able to do the little things like going after loose balls, making certain switches onto different guys, and having a good enough level of conditioning to sprint up and down the floor.
If Wembanyama can do everything I just mentioned, I think he can make us, as fans, look at the game differently than we ever have. No matter what, we should be blessed that someone as naturally talented as him will be one of the faces of the NBA for the next decade.