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NBA Needs Victor Wembanyama Draft to Lift Faltering Image - Newstbt.com

Tiffany Burroughs
Updated: 9 August 2023
4 min to read

This Thursday, Victor Wembanyama will finally make his long-awaited entry into the NBA as he is selected in the NBA Draft, taking place at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. For NBA fans and players, this night is a highly anticipated and much-needed event.
Victor Wembanyama
Victor Wembanyama – widely lauded as “the greatest prospect in the history of team sports” – has been sought after as a potential companion for these two breakout stars. Pictured on the court, the league is desperate for the Frenchman to reach his full potential and become its new young superstar. Since 2016, each No. 1 pick has been the victim of a curse, as Zion Williamson and Ja Morant’s excellent prospects have been derailed by unfortunate injuries and misconduct. The NBA is hoping that Wembanyama can provide the character and example that the two previous picks sadly lacked, and it would have been more exciting if he was headed to a larger market.

NBA Looking for a New Franchise Icon

The NBA needs hope as the recent Hall-of-Fame trio of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and James Harden leave fans with sour feelings, and with LeBron James possibly retiring soon. Wembanyama, the 7-foot-4 center from Metropolitans 92 of the French League, has been labeled “The greatest prospect in the history of team sports” by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, and the San Antonio Spurs aim to select him as the No. 1 pick. Executives anticipate him being great if he remains healthy, which is a difficult feat considering his tall stature and slim frame of 230 pounds. Nobody can be sure of what makes Wembanyama so special, but it’s clear the NBA is counting on him to provide hope.

Why the Frenchman is Special

Wembanyama is without a doubt a generational player, with capabilities that go far beyond the capacities of every point guard, shooting guard, and small forward. His 8-foot wingspan serves as an invaluable asset in the form of a defensive powerhouse and as a shot blocker. According to an NBA personnel director, the potential for Wembanyama to achieve greatness is phenomenal, saying that the world better be ready for The Wemby Show because the hype is indeed real. Although rumors of Wembanyama playing in the Spurs summer league in Las Vegas and participating for a bit this week in France have been making rounds, it makes great sense for him to decide on taking a more strategic approach in his upcoming season.

The French League season finished on Thursday and as the world moves towards the World Championships, the French team is preparing for early August, where the tournament will be taking place until late September. France nearly took home the gold medal in 2021, and this can potentially work in their favor when looking forward to the global event. This is why the Spurs may be a great fit for them.

Why the Spurs Might be Good for Him

Since 1999, the San Antonio Spurs have won five NBA championships despite being the sixth-smallest television market in the league and coming off of a 22-win season. However, the Spurs will likely still be battling for airtime on the national level, similar to the way the New Orleans Pelicans did during Zion Williamson’s rookie season (which was hampered by injuries resulting in him playing just 24 games). According to a personnel director, “there is no such thing as a big market these days”, and that San Antonio “is actually good for him. He needs that environment to develop.” On Monday, ESPN’s draft analyst, Jay Bilas, expressed that Gregg Popovich – one of the best coaches of all time – was the perfect coach to work with Wembanyama, as he is a “unique” basketball talent “like nothing seen before”.

Recent first-overall pick Wembanyama has been nothing short of impressive with his 7-4 frame and crazy wingspan, along with his incredible fluidity, strength, and agility. It’s almost hard to fathom the combination of these features on a basketball court, which leads us to believe there’s no doubt Wembanyama is destined for greatness.

Recent First-Overall Pick Failing

The most recent No. 1 picks have not had the desired results. Markelle Fulz (2016) and Ben Simmons (2017) have suffered health and mental issues, keeping them far from the elite level. DeAndre Ayton (2018), drafted first in 2018, has since lost his role in Phoenix. Anthony Edwards (2020), selected as the number one in the 2020 draft, was able to make the All-Star team with Minnesota, but did not take the team to the next level. Cade Cunningham (2021), the top draft pick in 2021, was sidelined with an injury and only made a quiet impact on one of the NBA’s bottom teams. Despite Paolo Banchero (2023) winning Rookie of the Year, the Duke player has yet to achieve the level of excellence associated with elite picks, playing on a struggling team in Orlando. In short, none of the recent No. 1 picks have lived up to lofty expectations.

Betting Odds

At Betonline.org, putting down $20K to win $100 is nearly non-existent on betting the No. 1. Instead, wagers on the second and third picks are most popular with two clear favorites: guard Scoot Henderson (10-13 favorite to go 2) and Brandon Miller, a 6-9 power forward from Alabama (even money). Odds for “the other” are 33-1. Following Henderson at 5-7 and Miller at 6-5, the others in the running are Amen Thompson (14/1 +1400), Cam Whitmore (16/1 +1600), Asuar Thompson (40/1 +4000), and Jarace Walker (50/1). Henderson is a good driver, but his jump shot is unpredictable and Miller’s performance dropped in big games versus top 50 teams. Nevertheless, Wembanyama is widely praised for his impressive capacity to switch defense.

At one point, no one was concerned about Williamson and Morant either.

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Updated: 9 August 2023
4 min to read

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