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

Without the showman potato brought on by Draymond Green to knock out teammate Jordan Poole, the US media would no doubt still be discussing the future of Victor Wembanyama. For a few days, they only had a name on their lips. That of the 18-year-old French player, visiting his club Boulogne-Levallois in Las Vegas for two exhibition matches against G-League Ignite last week. Two friendly matches but above all two demonstrations by the youngster, who forever buried his status as the most talented and, above all, most coveted prospect in the world.

Victor Wembanyama? “An alien”

More than 200 scouts and leaders gathered for the event and walked 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 the entire season! Season that has just started in France. They have seen enough. 37 points in the first game, taking the lead in his distance duel with Scoot Henderson, an American star announced in second position for the next draft. Then 36 in the second. With counters of each half, baskets of three points and other impressive actions. Wembanyama was unable to play a single minute and remain the first player called up by Adam Silver in June. This is to say how big the “hype” is. Undoubtedly unprecedented. “He’s the biggest prospect in history.”even Adrian Wojnarowski dares.


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His impressive performances overshadowed all other basketball news when Zion Williamson, a much-hyped player even before his arrival in the NBA, made his return to the court the night of one of the Metropolitans’ pivot cards. Even the stars of the league, in the midst of a recovery phase, have been polled about the guy.

Giannis Antetokounmpo called it “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. He is definitely a generational talent.And meet a ray of generational talent. Victor Wembanyama is without a doubt the most anticipated prospect since the King. He is undoubtedly the most anticipated in history since social networks did not occupy the same place in our lives when the Akron native arrived. professionals, in 2003.

If LeBron were the same age as Victor, he would still be drafted after him.“Says Richard Jefferson, James’s former teammate, bluntly. Holy debate. But now, what you have to understand is that doesn’t mean Wembanyama is necessarily the most talented prospect of all time. The discussions aren’t entirely about his actual level of play today, but more about the perception that NBA officials have of him, as well as obviously what they imagine him to be capable of becoming, is going to have a big impact on the next season”.

An unprecedented impact in the NBA for a young prospect

Victor alters the reality of basketball. The transfer and tank market will be turned upside down after this performance. We’re going to have a race for the last absolutely historic place.“, Trusted for example a GM. The commissioner of the league Adam Silver even went there with his comment by asking the teams not to sink to maximize the chances of recruiting the prodigy. He certainly knows that it is a waste of time Still According to Wojnarowski, just getting the Frenchman back could increase an organization’s value by about $500 million! Not every year, and many franchises won’t want to miss out.

LeBron James, looking admiringly, in front of Victor Wembanyama, favorite for the #1 spot in the 2023 NBA draft

Credit: eurosport

The Jazz and Spurs have focused their entire season on the thinly veiled goal of hitting the draft jackpot. Utah parted ways with its two superstars, Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell, by getting back 7 picks in exchange. San Antonio traded their best player, Dejounte Murray, for 3 rounds of the draft without signing any impact veterans in the offseason. Orlando, Detroit, Houston and Oklahoma City are rebuilding and won’t be insensitive to the idea of ​​adding a talent of Wembanyama’s caliber to their project.

Indiana should produce two veterans, Buddy Hield and Myles Turner, to fill the East shoals. Charlotte and Washington can drop 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 instead of fighting for a hypothetical eighth spot in the East? Some teams are one injury or one transfer away from finishing among the bottom 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 big ambitions (playoffs, title) and the other looking to finish with an unflattering record to win the lottery. Almost no 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 hit the market thanks to these teams that dream of the interior of the future. But today, when he has yet to set foot in the NBA, Victor Wembanyama is upsetting not just the fate of a franchise but that of the entire league. Wemba-mania has only just begun.


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