Victor Wembanyama, No.1 NBA Draft prospect, tanking, top pick, French 223cm teenager, Scoot Henderson - petsitterbank

Victor Wembanyama, No.1 NBA Draft prospect, tanking, top pick, French 223cm teenager, Scoot Henderson

He’s 7’4”. He plays like a guard. And he’s coming to a terrible NBA team near you.

The draft community often talks up prospects but it’s hard to overstate how freakishly good Victor Wenbanyama looks like he’s going to be.

The French 18-year-old has loomed as the No.1 pick in the 2023 NBA Draft for some time and a brilliant display against No.2 prospect Scoot Henderson, televised on ESPN on Wednesday, has only fueled that fire.

Watch Scoot Henderson of Ignite and Victor Wembanyama of Mets 92 go head-to-head LIVE Friday 6am EDT with ESPN on Kayo. New to Kayo? Start your free trial now >

“Anywhere between 120 and 150 scouts” were in Las Vegas to watch the exhibition match between Wenbanyama’s Metropolitans 92 and Henderson’s G-League Ignite, per ESPN’s Marcus J. Spears, and the contest lived up to the billing.

Wembanyama finished with 37 points (55% shooting), five blocks and four rebounds, while Henderson had 28 points (52.3% shooting), five rebounds and nine assists. For reference, Henderson’s team won, and they’ll play again on Friday (6am AEDT).

But it was Wembanyama, lurking around the court like Gumby was injected with the stuff that made the Space Jam Monstars, who drew all the plaudits.

Scoot Henderson #0 of G League Ignite drives to the basket against Victor Wembanyama #1 of Boulogne-Levallois Metropolitans 92 in the second quarter of their game at The Dollar Loan Center on October 04, 2022 in Henderson, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

NBA stars like Chris Paul and Devin Booker, WNBA guns Chelsea Gray and A’ja Wilson, and top executives from tanking sides like San Antonio’s RC Buford and Oklahoma City’s Sam Presti were all in attendance, while others raved about the French teen online.

“Sources: Utah has decided to lose all 82 games,” Bill Simmons Quippedpointing to the Jazz’ sudden teardown just in time to try and land Wembanyama.

The AP’s Tim Reynolds wrote: “He blocked shots at the rim and on the perimeter, got rebounds, ran the floor, set screens, scored on a nifty spin move, showed off his ability to dribble, dove for a loose ball and even played point guard on one possession.

“Oh, and all that was in the first two minutes.”

The USA Today’s Jeff Zillgitt compared him to Giannis Antetokounmpo.

“But don’t forget, it took time for Antetokounmpo to become who is today. With that said, Wembanyama has had much more training and development from an earlier age with high-level clubs,” Zillgitt wrote.

“Generational is the word used to describe Wembanyama.

“Born in France, Wembanyama is just 18 but has been on NBA radar for at least four years because of an impressive skillset at his size – he’s listed between 7-2 and 7-5 depending on where you look. At 15, he made his pro debut for a second-tier French team and made his top-tier French pro debut at 16.

“His stats are not eye-popping all the time but you have to remember European pro leagues don’t give out minutes easily to young players. I have played just 18.5 minutes per game last season though that will increase this season. It’s what he’s capable of that impresses scouts.”

While the NBA has flattened out the lottery odds to try and avoid tanking, Wenbanyama is an unbelievable reason to try and give yourself the best shot at the No.1 pick. (And Henderson, for what it’s worth, is a crazy-good No. 2 prospect.)

Coming soon to an NBA All-Star team. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

San Antonio and Houston will clearly be awful again, while Indiana and Orlando should be among the dregs of the East. Maybe Detroit joins the latter but they should finally take a step forward this season; Sacramento will be hoping to do so too, though they’ve had that hope for roughly two decades now.

Oklahoma City might be sneaky-good with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander plus Josh Giddey and Chet Holmgren, but still broadly bad, while Utah having traded out Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell will be right at the bottom of the West as well.

In effect, those teams we’ve just mentioned are the contenders for Wenbanyama, unless someone else really falls apart next year.

Which means, while they may not win anything on the court, they might get the biggest off-court win of the entire season.


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