Why Rival Teams are Dreading the Possibility of Victor Wembanyama on the Spurs
In less than a week, the San Antonio Spurs will know where they will pick in the 2023 NBA Draft. Lottery balls will determine which one of the top seven selections will belong to San Antonio. The ultimate prize is, of course, Victor Wembanyama.
The 19-year-old native of France is one of the best basketball prospects in recent memory. His towering frame and advanced skills make Wembanyama a franchise-altering centerpiece who could conceivably transform the team that drafts him into a championship contender by the end of his rookie contract.
On May 16th, the Spurs will have a 14% chance to get the top pick and, with that, the opportunity to draft Wembanyama. While there are other exciting prospects like Scoot Henderson and Amen Thompson, there’s no question that Wembanyama is the ultimate prize in this year’s draft.
Victor Wembanyama’s Strengths
At 7-foot-5 with an 8-foot wingspan, there’s little that Wembanyama can’t do on a basketball court. He’s already a playmaker at all three levels. While he doesn’t have advanced ball-handling moves at this point of his development, with his length he doesn’t need to do much to create an open look.
Wembanyama’s three-point shooting looks pure and he can shoot from off the dribble with ease. In the midrange, there aren’t many humans on the planet who can challenge his shot. He has even flashed old school post moves that could make him a rare post-up threat in the modern NBA.
In pick-and-roll sets, Wembanyama already looks like a monster. He sets mean screens and is dangerous whether he rolls to the rim or pops to the three-point line.
Passing-wise, Wembanyama is very advanced for a 19-year-old big man. He reads the game well and can zip passes through traffic. If he keeps developing, it’s not out of the question that he can be a lead facilitator in a high-powered offense. A 7-foot-5 offensive engine is frightening — but appears to be well within the realm of potential outcomes.
Defensively, Wembanyama’s potential is equally as vast. It doesn’t take much imagination to picture him winning multiple DPOYs by the time his career is over. He’s already a great shot-blocker in the interior. Once he adds more strength, his ungodly length will allow him to defend the paint single-handedly.
Wembanyama is also really mobile for a seven-footer, which should allow him to swim out on the perimeter on the defensive end. He’s not going to be a perimeter stopper but he should be able to move his feet enough to be a switchable defensive chess piece.
As far as character is concerned, the Frenchman gets glowing marks across the board. Wembanyama is serious about being an all-time great and exhibits maturity when tackling the needed steps to make that goal a reality.
Areas of Concern for Victor Wembanyama
Injuries appear to be the only thing that could stop Wembanyama from being a great player. He has already dealt with a handful of injuries. At 7-foot-5 with superhuman agility, can he stay healthy? That’s the question that will likely determine his basketball destiny.
On the court, the teenager obviously has room to get better. His decision-making needs to tighten up in order for him to be the supremely efficient player he’s capable of becoming. Specifically, he needs to limit contested midrange shots and focus more on scoring at the rim and getting high-quality three-point attempts.
As mentioned above, getting stronger will help him defensively. Adding muscle should also make him an even more imposing finisher on the offensive end.
A Scout’s View: Victor Wembanyama’s Fit on the Spurs
When I asked a rival team’s scout about the Spurs potentially getting the first pick and drafting Wembanyama, he didn’t hold back: “F—- that. Those guys have gotten enough luck already. They already got Tim and Dave. Being able to draft the three best center prospects of the last 35 years would be some bullsh–.”
Final Thoughts on the Spurs Potentially Drafting Victor Wembanyama
Winning the draft lottery and the right to draft Wembanyama would go down as one of the top moments in Spurs history. It’d be up there with the five championships and the drafting of David Robinson and Tim Duncan. That may sound hyperbolic but that’s how big of a deal it would be to land Wembanyama in San Antonio.
As it stands, the Spurs are trying to slowly rebuild their way back to being relevant once again. If the Spurs can get lucky with the lottery balls, the road to being a contender would reemerge in the blink of an eye.