BetOnline customers know that making NBA draft picks is a crapshoot. That may even be the case with the #1 selection. There is so much speculation involved, and not every teenager is ready to play at the highest level. Next summer the speculation may be at a minimum.
In terms of who certain NBA teams may be “tanking” for this season, there would appear to be no doubt whatsoever about it. His name is Victor Wembanyama, and he truly has to be seen to be believed. A 7-2 center out of France, he has the kind of skills any team would be longing for in the pivot. He can sweep the glass. He can block shots anywhere in his neighborhood.
And there are bonuses. The 18-year-old they call “Wemba” can handle the ball and run the floor. And his shooting range is the same as any off-guard or small forward. The guy can simply do it all.
Comparisons have been made to many players. The name of Ralph Sampson has been mentioned. And if you recall, the 7-4 Sampson was a marvel in that he could seamlessly dribble the ball from one end of the floor to the other. Just recently, Chet Holmgren, who wowed observers in the summer league, did some things that are attributed to Wemba. But by no means is his arsenal as broad as the young Frenchman.
Wemba – Coming to America
At the beginning of October, Wermba came stateside with his Paris-based side (Metropolitans) and put forth a dominant performance against the G-League Ignite team. His opposition was filled with legit NBA prospects, but the kid was absolutely undaunted, lighting up the scoreboard with 37 points. That included SEVEN triples, and on top of that he also blocked five shots.
He then turned around a couple of days later against the same opponent and had 36 points and eleven rebounds. It was a fantastic display.
Rudy Gobert believes that Wemba’s ball-handling and shooting remind him of Kevin Durant. Gobert has had a bird’s eye view, because he had all he could handle against Wemba in a scrimmage a couple of years ago. And yes, the name of Kareen Abdul-Jabbar has been mentioned in the same sentence.
He is said to be the best prospect since LeBron James. One NBA scout has been quoted (anonymously) as saying, “If you would pass on him, and then he would become what people think he can become? You’ve signed your death certificate as an executive.”
And that would explain why he is listed as the -1000 favorite to go first according to BetOnline.
But wait….there’s also Scoot
The discussion about the #1 pick isn’t a COMPLETELY foregone conclusion. Opposing Wemba for the Ignite team was Scoot Henderson, a 6-2 lead guard who has drawn comparisons to Derrick Rose (the MVP version) and Ja Morant. He is a creator who can score. He is considered to be a cinch to be an NBA All-Star. And you coud safely say that if Wemba didn’t exist, Scoot would be the easy #1 pick.
It should be mentioned that in that game against Wemba, Henderson was on the winning side. He had 28 points and nine assists to spearhead the cause. He could have a significant effect like Morant has had on the Memphis Grizzlies. Yeah, he’s good.
But he is priced no better than +1000 to go #1.
The bottom line
The thing is this: Wemba, in the opinion of most scouts, can completely turn around the fortunes of a team, almost immediately. He is the game-changer. One NBA executive has suggested that he could increase the value of a franchise by as much as $500 million.
Before he even enters the league, he is going to affect the way many teams play.
The three worst records in the NBA are assured the top three spots in the lottery. Expect that if things are imploding for some teams that weren’t expected to contend anyway, they’ll jump into the tank. And they’ll do it hard.
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