Written by Journalism Staff Reporter Cole Smith
As the end of the 2023 NBA season approaches, many people look forward to the playoffs. This is when the “real basketball” happens, with players playing real defense, scorers willing their way to 30+ point games, and unforgettable plays unfolding before thousands of people. This is where the excitement begins for most casual fans and their respective teams, but what about the other 14 teams that do not make the playoffs? The period between the end of the regular season and the off-season is often a boring one for the worst teams in the league, usually with two things to look forward to: the draft lottery and the NBA draft. Most fans of these losing teams would blame players, coaches, or management for the past season’s large number of tallies in the loss column. Sometimes, there are other factors, like injury, or team infighting; but this year, there’s a very special exception. A 7-foot-4-inch, 19-year-old, French prospect is what tanking teams have their eyes on. When scouts see Victor Wembanyama, they drool at his skill set of a 6-foot guard who can shoot from anywhere on the floor while also being one of the tallest people in the world. The soon-to-be NBA star was dubbed an “Alien” by LeBron James after he thought people calling Wembanyama a “unicorn” wasn’t enough praise. The specimen currently plays for the French club, Metropolitans 92, and scores 22.4 points per game, grabs 9.6 rebounds a game, and blocks 3.1 shots in each game. Victor has been compared to Kevin Durant on the offensive side of the ball, seemingly scoring at will, while being compared to two-time defensive player of the year, Rudy Gobert, on the defensive end. Wembanyama is considered one of the most exciting prospects since LeBron James was drafted in 2003, with the NBA further promoting his fame by posting his highlights from European leagues’ games to their social media accounts. NBA teams once considered dynasties are now in the losing competition for a chance at France’s alien, with teams like the Spurs and Rockets each having less than 15 wins so far this season. Whichever team is lucky enough to land the first overall pick will surely select Wembanyama for their reward of a miserable past season. After receiving such a big opportunity (emphasis on big), however, the team with Wembanyama will need to be able to use him correctly, with correct coaching and training. One serious question of the phenom is his weight, standing 7+ feet tall and only weighing 230 pounds can be a little alarming when teams expect him to guard someone like Joel Embiid, weighing in at 280 pounds. Even with his weight flaw, Wemby is still highly anticipated, and any team who gets to have him on their roster should be looking forward to a bright future. If his career goes according to plan, Victor Wembanyama is expected to be the next face of the NBA, and teams would kill to gain that kind of player on their roster.