Victor Wembanyama is going to be the number-one pick in tonight’s NBA Draft. This has been known for over a year now. He will be selected by the San Antonio Spurs. Never before have we known so little about the first pick in the draft. That can be attributed to the fact that this 19-year old is from France.
I spent some time researching Wembanyama. I have come up with the revelation that there is not a template for Wembanyama. He excels in all facets of the game while being 7 foot 4 inches tall. In prior drafts, we’ve seen many of his skills and traits before. Just not all in one package and not at this size.
Here are some of the comparisons I read about. I do this to prepare you for what we are likely to see in the very near future.
Let me start with Kevin Durant. It is not a secret that Durant is easily the best ball-handler for a player approaching 7 foot tall. Usually, we see guys this tall struggle with their dribble. Their dribbles travel too high. They lose control if they can’t run in a straight line. Not Wembanyama. He can cross-up defenders and covers so much ground in so little time with his long legs.
Let’s move to shot blocking. Think of the likes of Hakeem Olajuwon, Dikembe Mutombo, David Robinson and Dwight Howard. Scouts feel Wembanyama will be a better shot blocker then all these guys.
How about long range shooting off the dribble? The step back jumper. Scouts say he is the equal of Jayson Tatum. Critics note that Tatum is a little too reliant on jumpers, but his ability to shed defenders and create space for off-the-dribble looks beyond the arc is part of what makes him one of the league’s most effective scorers. Supposedly, Wembanyama already has more in his side-step and step-back bag than Tatum did when he entered the league in 2017. The extra eight inches of height could eventually make Wemby even tougher to guard in space than the Boston Celtics’ three-time All-NBA superstar. Ask yourself this. How are opposing teams slower big guys going to defend him at the three-point line?
How about the grab and go defensive rebound. Few do it even close to the level of Giannis Antetokounmpo. Giannis can secure a rebound, take five or six dribbles down the floor for a dunk. He performs this skill while traveling in a straight line. I watched highlight after highlight of Wembanyama doing the same thing while making horizontal moves around defenders. The most frightening aspect of Wembanyama’s grab-and-go game is that he can pull up and hit a jump shot if defenders retreat to guard the basket. walls might ultimately be useless. Unlike Antetokounmpo, who typically needs to get all the way to the bucket to score efficiently, the teenager’s full-court pushes can culminate with him picking out a mismatch in space and drilling a jumper. Antetokounmpo is the most potent transition player in the league, but even he can’t do this.
And guess what? This guy can pass. Good luck double-teaming Wembanyama.
It appears this generational talent has it all. And it appears the San Antonio Spurs will be relevant again.