NBA executives reportedly believe that prospect Victor Wembanyama could be the best player in the league on both ends of the floor by his third season.
The French phenom is expected to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft. That selection is now held by the San Antonio Spurs after Tuesday night’s NBA draft lottery.
San Antonio gets Victor W. Good news for Heat and East. Woj said NBA executives told him he could be best player in league on offense and defense by three year
— Barry Jackson (@flasportsbuzz) May 17, 2023
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski referred to Wembanyama as the “most highly anticipated player to ever enter the NBA” prior to the lottery.
"This is the most highly-anticipated player to ever enter the NBA. … Maybe the greatest prospect in the history of team sports."
—@wojespn on Victor Wembanyama 😳 (via NBA Today) pic.twitter.com/LNuOG2RdHR
— ESPN (@espn) May 16, 2023
That’s some massive praise when one considers that LeBron James was donned the next Michael Jordan when he entered the league in 2003. Several other players have been compared to James since then.
Wembanyama has a unique skill set, playing like a guard despite being 7-foot-4. He has impressive handles and lateral quickness, and he’s also an extremely talented shot-blocker.
The Spurs, who finished with one of the worst records in the NBA last season, won the lottery on Tuesday night and now have a chance to build their franchise around an elite prospect.
If executives are right about Wembanyama, he should immediately contend for All-Star and All-NBA selections in his first few seasons in the NBA. The Spurs seem to have found their new version of NBA legend Tim Duncan, who led the franchise to several titles in his playing career.
Wembanyama’s skill set allows him to play with just about anyone, which is a good sign for the young Spurs. The team has a few talented young players in Jeremy Sochan (one of their first-round picks in the 2022 NBA Draft), Keldon Johnson and Devin Vassell.
During the 2022-23 regular season, Wembanyama played for Boulogne-Levallois Metropolitans 92. He appeared in 34 games, averaging 21.5 points, 10.4 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 3.0 blocks per game while shooting 47.0 percent from the field.
It will be interesting to see how the French star transitions to the NBA in his rookie season, but all signs point to him becoming one of the best players in the league early on in his NBA career.
After a few down seasons following the departure of Kawhi Leonard, the Spurs seem destined to eventually become contenders in the Western Conference with Wembanyama leading the way.