Why You Need to Know Victor Wembanyama
Every so often, an NBA Draft prospect with generational star power emerges in the basketball world. These players transcend the sports world with such incredible talent and irregularity that they become household names. Joining the likes of Shaquille O’Neal, LeBron James, and Zion Williamson is Parisian center Victor Wembanyama, the unquestioned star of a highly touted 2023 NBA Draft class. The 7-foot-3 big man might just be the next great star in the NBA, and teams are already positioning themselves to add the intriguing phenom to their future plans.
Who is Victor Wembanyama?
Victor Wembanyama is already a force to be reckoned with. The 19-year-old stands at 7’3”, with a gargantuan 7’9″ wingspan. Wembanyama will likely be the tallest player in the NBA if he suits up for the ’23-’24 season. He is fresh off two consecutive Best Young Player awards in the French LNB Pro A, and he signed a two-year deal with Boulogne-Levallois Metropolitans 92 in Paris earlier this summer.
Physical attributes can only take you so far, but Wembanyama legitimately has the skill and instincts to put his size to use. Overseas, Wembanyama proved that he has the dexterity to transform a team’s defense. Using active hands and feet to anticipate his opponent’s movement, Wembanyama tracks slashers from the perimeter and times his jump to block shots. He also does a great job of positioning himself while rotating on the weak side of the court, which allows him to contest and alter more shots at the rim.
There’s more to his defensive capabilities than simply blocking shots, though. Wembanyama uses his height and reach to close out effectively on shooters, generate fastbreaks, and force ball handlers to get rid of the ball. Blowing by Wembanyama is a tall task since he doesn’t need to be as quick as his matchup to deter their shots.
It really can’t be underscored just how impressively big Wembanyama is. When he does step onto an NBA floor, he’s going to dwarf even the biggest big men. The history of hyper-tall NBA players is a dicey one. He’ll need to be mindful of building his frame and working to avoid injury. Players of his height are generally more injury prone. Still, Wembanyama’s defensive potential is hard to ignore.
On offense, Wembanyama is genuinely spectacular. His footwork is polished and clean. From there, his immense wingspan makes it almost impossible to bother his jump shot. For comparison, think of Kevin Durant rising up over defenders with an extra half-foot of length to work with. Wembanyama needs to work on his efficiency and impulsive defense, but that is something that will come with age. All the same, Wembanyama appears poised to make a big splash in the NBA.
Wembanyama is the name to watch at the 2023 draft and beyond. With all of his insane measurables, it is confirmed he is worth a tanking season.