The French phenom Victor Wembanyama had already been described as “generational,” even before he became eligible in the 2023 NBA draft. Given his alien size and skill
set—especially for his age—such descriptions may not be that large of a reach.
Born on January 4, 2004, in Le Chesnay, France, Wembanyama is just 18 years of age. His 9 points, 5 rebounds, and 18 minutes per game in France’s Pro A league seems unexceptional to an NBA fan, but those numbers earned him two Pro A Young Player of the Year awards. Those awards were earned due to his stellar defense, averaging nearly 4 blocks per 36 minutes.
His play in the French first league was not the source of his insane social media presence. His hype became worldwide when he led France to a finals berth in the U18 Fiba World Cup, showcasing his skills on National TV and almost defeating the United States to take home gold. Fans were immediately enamored because a 7’3 kid moving like he was on offense and defense had never been seen before. His international fame earned his team, Metropolitan 92, a two-match series against the G-League Ignite, a squad full of 2023 draft talent, including projected number two pick Scoot Henderson. Victor went on to dominate both games, averaging 36.5 points, 4.5 blocks, hitting 9 threes across the two contests, and taking home one win in the process.
Despite such exceptional playing, some of Wembanyama’s attributes have worried analysts. The first is his small frame and scarily low weight for his size. Scouts are worried he may be pushed around once in the NBA, convinced that he will not hold up with the physicality. Additionally, he has had multiple injuries, especially in the lower half of his body, which is a common concern for seven-footers, ending the career of many notable players.
Fans and scouts have chosen to overlook the injury concerns due to the rarity of his build with guard-like ball handling and shooting. Wembanyama has been given comparisons to many NBA superstars, notably Kevin Durant, Rudy Gobert, and Giannis Antetokounmpo. For all these reasons Wembanyama is already the clear number-one pick in one of the most stacked draft classes in recent memory.