After playing his first two games on American soil this week, 18-year-old Frenchman Victor Wembanyama is being hailed as the “greatest prospect in NBA history” by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
And Woj isn’t alone, as everyone from LeBron James to Chris Paul to the 200 NBA staff who watched the 7-foot-4 Wembanyama score 73 points in two games against G League Ignite in Las Vegas, praise as a transformative prospect.
“He’s more like an alien, he’s definitely a generational talent,” said James, who watched Wembanyama Tuesday in Las Vegas before the Lakers played the Suns there (with James saying he wants to have a team in Las Vegas one day). ).
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has already warned teams not to stray from Wembanyama, but that won’t stop them.
“Yes they are [going to tank]an NBA executive said after watching the Frenchman post 36 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 blocks in a game that saw him hit knees with projected second pick Scoot Henderson, who had to leave the game.
“The impact it will have on the NBA this season is dramatic, as a general manager told me the other day that we will see a race to the bottom like never before in the NBA,” ESPN’s Woj Thurdsay said on air. .
“Equipment [will be] trying to get in position to be able to draft Wembanyama or get the second pick and get Scoot Henderson.” Henderson’s agent, Steve Haney, told me his client, who has been compared to Ja Morant and a young Derrick Rose, should be the No. 1 pick.
Woj added: “A team president said that recruiting Wembanyama could add up to $500 million to the value of his franchise. At 7-foot-4, 7-5 in shoes. he has such advanced skill that there has never been anyone like him.
“I think the level of collapse that we may see in the NBA this year as many try to get into position could affect the trade deadline as teams just don’t want to be in position to win. That has an impact for the contenders.”
The closest comparison for Wembanyama might be Nets superstar Kevin Durant.
“Honestly, I think when he gets to the NBA and establishes himself, he’s going to play similar to the way Kevin Durant plays, where he can catch the short post and post at the same time, but more like a face. a tall guy, not trying to worry about trying to push guys back,” former NBA player and current NBA analyst Cory Alexander said during the broadcast.
“The way he throws the basketball and handles it makes him a dangerous force.”
Wembanyama is listed at 209 pounds, and Durant, who is about 4 inches shorter, at 240.
“Kevin Durant has put on weight since he’s been in the NBA, but he’s been in the league forever,” Alexander said.
“[Wembanyama] he can be effective in the NBA at the size he is now. Of course, getting stronger only helps. but it will depend on the style of game he plays.
Bouna Ndiaye, Wembanyama’s agent, reiterated Thursday on ESPN that some NBA people have told him to shut down the Frenchman to preserve his draft stock and avoid injury, but he has no plans to do so, saying the kid is a rat. of gym and a competitor. and he wants to play.
“Even if I wish and advise you to sit down, you will not sit down, because you are here to compete, you are here to experience these games and you are here to learn and progress,” he said. “Victor is a competitor, so when there is a basketball game you tell him not to go, he will go.”
And where will the NBA ball be playing?
Teams like the Pacers, Spurs, Rockets, Jazz and Thunder will benefit as they are all projected to win fewer than 25 games.
“Victor Wembanyama will really make an impact in the league before he plays a minute,” Woj said.
And Wembanyama also wants to make an impact after that.
“My goal is to be like something you’ve never seen,” he said.