Believe the hype: Victor Wembanyama is the best draft prospect in NBA history

Victor Wembanyama, Spurs (Photo by Steve Marcus/Getty Images)
Victor Wembanyama, Spurs (Photo by Steve Marcus/Getty Images) /
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Victor Wembanyama, NBA
Victor Wembanyama (Photo by Steve Marcus/Getty Images) /

Victor Wembanyama is rapidly improving and is a historic prospect.

Last season, playing for ASVEL, he averaged just 9.4 points, 5.1 rebounds, 1.8 blocks, and just under a steal and block per game. He shot 47% from the field, 26% from three, and 60% from the foul line at just 17 years of age, playing against grown men. Those might not have been slam dunk #1 overall pick numbers, but for you, analytic nerds, his PER 36 averages were 18.4 points, 10 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.7 steals, and an impressive 3.5 blocks per game.

He struggled with foul trouble, averaging 4.9 fouls per game, but showed flashes of the ability to put the ball on the floor, make shots off the dribble, protect the rim, and do things we rarely see from a big man. The hype for Wembanyama only heightened when his current team, Metropolitans 92, a French Pro League team, faced off against the NBA G League Ignite in a pair of exhibition games.

The Ignite have another fellow top draft prospect, Scoot Henderson, who’s projected to go No. 2 behind Wembanyama. Although Henderson had an amazing first game, sadly he missed most of the second exhibition game due to banging knees with Wembanyama. Still, it was Wembanyama who had the whole basketball world’s eyes in disbelief. Wembanyama finished with 37 points on 11-of-20 from the field (55%), an absurd 7-11 from three (63%), had four rebounds, and five blocks!

He was doing it all, from blocking shots on the perimeter to defending the rim at an elite level. He also showed insane shot creation ability, from pull-up threes in transition to curling off screens, and on one play even did a pull-back three just for fun and cashed it. As impressive as Wembanyama was in the first game, he was even better in the second one, scoring 36 points, grabbing 11 rebounds, and dishing out 4 assists along with 4 blocks.

Wembanyama literally showed why he’s the best prospect since James and the slam dunk No.1 pick in June’s draft. The stuff he was doing was absurd, including a fall-away three, which he caught and hit while fading away to his right in the right corner. What about the hashmark three he made from about 28 feet out? It was just something mythical we, as basketball fans, were witnessing.