Victor Wembanyama is the evolution of the personified basketball. But evolution needs a catalyst. Wembanyama’s genes certainly played a part, but decades before that he could Frederic Weis. Weis is the first French center whose name has entered the memory of American basketball fans. But for all the wrong reasons. Vince Carter’s 7-foot-2 jump from the top of the bar at the Sydney Olympics over the Knicks’ first round pick in 1999 (15th overall) (15th overall) has resonated around the world, but especially in his native France. Weis’s name has become synonymous with postcolonial times, and the French have been soft-labeled ever since.
The arc of the sports universe must bend towards the jest because Wembanyama is an American support for what Vinsanity did with Frédéric Weis. Once LeBron James and Steph Curry called it over, the game was in good shape, but not American hands. Nikola Jokic, Luka Dončić, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Joel Embiid are phenomenal, but none of them are considered top players in their respective drafts. The first generation of phenoms in two decades was a French teenager.
As an individual talent, Wilt Chamberlain dominated the ’60s, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar dominated the ’70s intersecting with Jordan’s rise, and 19 years passed between Michael Jordan and LeBron’s NBA debuts. Wembanyama flew in like a high invitation Boulogne-Levallois Metropolitans 92 draft the prospect and leave as a megastar 20 years after LeBron flexed his overwhelming adult game against Oak Hill No. 1 in one of ESPN’s earliest high school basketball demos, long overdue.
Wembanyama’s debut was perfect. In both competitions against G League Ignite, Wembanyama silenced any skeptic by scoring 36.5 points, 7.5 pounds, 4.5 blocks and making 50% of his 18 attempts. from the city center. Those 4.5 blocks cannot be skipped either. Wembanyama is so agile and long that, unlike his compatriot Rudy Gobert, he won’t be upset when he steps out to defend in the encirclement. The Wembanyama draft team wouldn’t be hard to score with paint but could also have a dome built around one side of the floor where Wembanyama is. In an era where teams value space, his defensive instincts coupled with his 8-meter wingspan is a space killer. If he keeps filling, he could be the most dominant defensive piece in tournament history.
Wembanyama is the generation of NBA veterans who have been waiting to get into the NBA Draft. If he gets pushed into the 2003 Draft, there’s a 50% chance he’ll be the top prospect instead of King James, depending on who’s drafting. LeBron’s otherworldly sportiness encapsulated in a chiseled 6-foot-8 frame with clairvoyant vision of a point forward is changing the paradigm and fitting where the game is headed next. . And obviously knowing what we know gives LeBron a significant advantage, but Wembanyama is more than just a unicorn. He is a phenom and a basketball kaiju.
What separates Wembanyama from LeBron are his insane measurements and dexterity for such a large athlete. Countless unicorn athletes with unique skill sets have shot into the ecological world of the NBA over the past 20 years. Over the past decade, the big boys have begun to expand the deck to take advantage of the increased focus on 3-point shooting. Wembanyama isn’t just an effective focus shooter, he can take 29 pins gets out of the dribble, accidentally exits the dribble from the right corner or he drives and ends up above the belt.
Take his space and Wembanyama can be blown away by you after a few dribbling combinations set up. Look what he did to poor Leonard Miller. Would you believe me if I told you that the warbler that caught Wembanyama’s musty armpit feathers was 6 foot-10?
An international player has never had a match in such a state of suffocation. And for the foreseeable future, Wembanyama won’t let go.