Agent: No Plan To Shut Victor Wembanyama Down Until Draft

After an excellent performance against the G League Ignite that included 37 points, seven three-pointers and five blocked shots, NBA executives are suggesting that it might be in Victor Wembanyama‘s best interests to sit out until the 2023 NBA draft next June, but his agent says that’s not on the table.

NBA people are telling me to shut him down, and we are not going to shut him down,” Bouna Ndiaye told Adrian Wojnarowski and Jonathan Givony of ESPN. “If we came with that kind of talk to [Wembanyama], he will look at us and say, ‘What are you talking about?’ He’ll never agree to that. He wants to compete and get better. With Victor, it’s basketball first and everything else second. He was so pissed off that he lost.”

The projected No. 1 pick is such a promising prospect that one GM thinks the French big man will have a major impact on the 2022/23 season in multiple ways.

Victor distorts basketball reality,” the GM said. “The tank/trade market will really shift after that showing. It feels like last night will start a race to the bottom like we’ve never seen.”

Another GM, this one with a chance to land the No. 1 pick, thinks Wembanyama is a generational talent.

He’s a 7-foot-4 (Kevin) Durant who blocks shots — and he’s not even close to what he’s going to be. He will be the most hyped player since LeBron (James),” the GM told ESPN.

As Wojnarowski and Givony write, after Wembanyama shined on national television in the U.S., multiple executives told ESPN that they have talked to their team owners about the steps necessary to tank and land him, with both sides gaining a “better understanding of the transformational value” of selecting Wembanyama. The presence of G League Ignite guard Scoot Henderson, the projected No. 2 pick, could further incentivize teams to roll the dice on tanking in ’22/23, per ESPN’s duo.

While the bottom three teams in the standings will each only have a 14% chance each of landing the top pick after the NBA flattened the lottery odds in 2019 to disincentive intentionally losing, that might not matter for the upcoming season. ESPN’s duo suggests slow-starting teams might consider dealing away impact players earlier than normal for a better chance at Wembanyama, even though the past few seasons have seen more buyers than sellers due to teams believing they have a shot at the playoffs via the play-in tournament.

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