Illustration courtesy of Matt Lehman / ESPN.
On June 22, Victor Wembanyama was drafted first overall by the San Antonio Spurs, and the sports world couldn’t stop talking about it.
Landing him was a breath of fresh air for the franchise, which had been mediocre for the last couple of seasons. The Spurs have historically been a great franchise, but after a historical 22 straight postseason appearances, they slowly lost the star talent that elevated them to that point.
They were led by Tim Duncan, who was with the team for 19 seasons and won five championships.
Duncan and his teammate David Robinson were the only first overall picks drafted by the Spurs up until this season. The two of them had legendary careers and stamped their names into the Basketball Hall of Fame.
Now, as the third top pick ever drafted by the Spurs, Wembanyama has a ton of pressure on him.
Coming into the draft, he was touted as one of the best prospects of all time. He stands at a staggering 7’5, which would make him one of the tallest players currently in the NBA.
In addition, he doesn’t play like a traditional big man, instead being able to handle the basketball and shoot like a guard would. He has a knack for scoring the ball at all three levels: finishing, mid-range, and three-point shooting.
A lot of extremely talented scorers in the NBA have trouble with defense, but that is not the case with Wembanyama. He is able to protect the rim and block shots at a high level as well.
Last season, playing with the French basketball club the Metropolitans 92, Wembanyama averaged 21.6 points, 10.4 rebounds, and 3 blocks per game.
Many are concerned about how his game can translate to the NBA, where he will be playing against the best talent in the world. However, it seems like he has the talent and IQ to be successful in NBA.
Victor Wembanyama handles. 🔥🤯
— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) July 8, 2023
Personally, the biggest concern is if he can stay healthy in the NBA. Historically, players with his size and frame have injury issues that could plague their careers. Fortunately for Wembanyama, he has not undergone a significant injury up until this point, and has not missed a game due to injury in the past year.
If Wembanyama is able to stay healthy, he should continue his dominance in the NBA.
At the age of 19, he will be the franchise cornerstone for the Spurs, and the biggest bright spot for them in years.
Being under legendary head coach Gregg Popovich, who has been coaching the Spurs for 27 years, Wembanyama is in good hands. He looks to add his name to one of the all-time greats in Spurs’ history, joining Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, David Robinson, George Gervin, and Kawhi Leonard.