Victor Wembanyama has always been inevitable—barring disaster, he's the surefire top pick in the 2023 NBA Draft. On a personal level, the only thing preventing Wembanyama from going #1 in any of the last two or three NBA Drafts was that he wasn’t allowed to be drafted yet; on a macro level, Wembanyama is the culmination of the years-long reimagination of what it means to be a big man. His development, in vignettes: in 2020, he was a gangly kid hitting jumpers over Rudy Gobert; in 2021, he was punking Chet Holmgren and Jaden Ivey and the best teenage basketball players in America as a 17 year old; and now, apparently, he’s become Death, destroyer of worlds. Serious NBA Draft people say with total sincerity that he’s the best prospect since
Zion Williamson Anthony Davis Lebron James Kareem Abdul-Jabaar, uh, the invention of the concept of prospect-hood.
“Wembanyama's combination of length, fluidity, skill, timing and feel for the game is unprecedented in my 20 years of NBA draft scouting evaluations,” wrote ESPN’s Jonathan Givony, the founder of DraftExpress.
“Best prospect I’ve ever evaluated,” tweeted Mike Schmitz, Givony’s DraftExpress consigliere.
Whereas even other mega-prospects like Cade Cunningham or Zion Williamson required some degree of augury or projection, it’s immediately obvious that Wembanyama has the goods. For starters, Wembanyama is pushing the limits of how tall a human physically can be—at 7’5, he's the tallest person in France and quite conceivably one of the 200 tallest men who have ever lived. But what makes Wembanyama so special isn’t merely his gigantism, but rather that he’s not constrained or circumscribed by his gigantism.
“My goal,” Wembanyama said in a press conference before his heavily-hyped scrimmage against Scoot Henderson and G-League Ignite, “is to be like nothing you’ve ever seen.”