How Good is Victor Wembanyama?

How Good is Victor Wembanyama?

A few years ago basketball fans around the world started to get very excited about a young player. He was not yet playing in the NBA but those in the know confidently predicted that he was destined for the top. That young man was Victor Wembanyama.

All the best NBA betting sites started to re-evaluate their odds for this season, as Wembanyama was taken as the number one pick in the draft by the San Antonio Spurs. But as we settle in to enjoy the postseason, the Spurs are nowhere to be seen, with only three teams in the entire league finishing with a worse record.

So was all that hype undeserved? The answer to that question is undoubtedly no. To understand why Victor Wembanyama is absolutely the real deal, you have to understand the NBA, how players are drafted, and what a talent he is. For those of you who still need to understand, here’s an NBA and Wembanyama introduction.

A Brief History

Victor Wembanyama was born in France in 2004, to a French former basketball-playing mother and a Congolese track and field athlete. It is fair to say that sports were in his genes. His parents are also both over 6ft tall, making Victor’s official height of 7ft 4 a little more understandable.

Victor Wembanyama played soccer and judo before concentrating on basketball and was soon playing for the youth team of professional team Nanterre 92 in France. When he was just 14 he was loaned out to Barcelona in Spain but turned down an offer to stay as he believed that the coaches were not pushing him hard enough.

He eventually played a season with ASVEL and then a year with Metropolitans 92 in Paris. Although he signed a two-year contract, he attracted the attention of the NBA when he excelled in two exhibition games against NBA G League Ignite, a team of potential future NBA pros. His height, span, shooting and ball-handling skills excited everyone who saw him play and he soon became the favorite to be taken number one overall in the 2023 NBA Draft.

Number One Draft Pick

Wembanyama was predictably taken by the San Antonio Spurs as the number one pick after they won the draft lottery last year. He became the first French national ever to achieve that honor and only the second-ever European to be drafted first.

San Antonio immediately threw Wembanyama into its Summer League roster, where he managed to score nine points in his very first game against the Charlotte Hornets in front of a sellout crowd. He scored 27 in his second game against Portland and it was then announced that he would sit out the rest of the Summer League in order to prepare for his rookie NBA season.


Wembanyama was the most highly anticipated draft prospect in history and there are a number of reasons why. Standing at 7ft 4 might have made him merely interesting in any year. But his wide range of skills – especially for a tall man – has everyone wanting to watch him play. And he has delivered.

It could be argued that Wembanyama is already one of the best defenders in the NBA. His ability to stay involved in a defensive play is incredible and he can easily smother opponents without giving away stupid fouls. But he is also a huge asset offensively, being able to shoot well and providing a dangerous option even when he is not in control of the ball.

Will the Spurs Be Better?

It might be said that the Spurs could hardly get any worse than before Wembanyama was drafted last summer. But his rookie season statistics have outperformed even the wildest expectations and proved that he is one of the most exciting prospects the NBA has seen in a long time.

He was recently voted the unanimous NBA Rookie of the Year, gathering all 99 possible votes. To put that into some perspective, he is only the sixth rookie to do that in the last 40 years. Wembanyama played 71 games last season, averaging 21.4 points, 10.6 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 3.6 blocks, and 1.2 steals per game. The last player to reach anywhere near those numbers was Shaquille O’Neal.

That being said, San Antonio won exactly the same amount of games as it did the season before Wembanyama joined the NBA. It also needed a late winning streak to achieve even that. There is no doubt that the Spurs will be better next season but seeing them challenge for championships might take a little longer.

Will Wembanyama Win a Championship?

Victor Wembanyama is still very young and has just completed his rookie season in the NBA. His defensive skills were expected – and he delivered. His offensive talent has been more surprisingly impressive and we are undoubtedly watching a future star of the game.

The Spurs roster is also a very young one and that has naturally made things difficult for the team to progress as much as Wembanyama – and everyone connected with San Antonio – would like.

There is no guarantee in professional sports and the risk of injury at any time should always temper any grand predictions. But Wembanyama’s rookie season should be taken as a good sign for the future. He is already breaking records and playing as a go-to guy. It might take a while yet – and probably a trade to another team – but don’t be surprised if Victor Wembanyama is celebrating an NBA championship sooner rather than later.

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