There were more than 200 NBA scouts and executives in attendance on Tuesday to watch the projected top two picks in the 2023 draft square off, as Victor Wembanyama and French club Metropolitans 92 faced Scoot Henderson and the G League Ignite, writes Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press.
Henderson, widely viewed as the second-best prospect in next year’s draft class, lived up to that billing, racking up 28 points to go along with nine assists and five rebounds. He led the Ignite to a 122-115 victory.
But it was Wembanyama who stole the show, even in a losing cause. The 7’3″ Frenchman poured in 37 points on just 20 field goal attempts, knocking down seven three-pointers and blocking five shots. According to Matt Williams of ESPN (Twitter link), only one player in NBA history has ever made seven threes and blocked five shots in a single game before — Danny Green did it in a triple-overtime game in 2014.
Wembanyama admitted after Tuesday’s game that the longer G League quarters affected his stamina, but his incredible performance showed why he’s considered one of the best NBA prospects in years.
“He was amazing,” Metropolitans 92 coach Vincent Collet said, per Myron Medcalf of ESPN. “What he can do with his size, his agility, mobility, not only his ability to shoot the three, moving very well. He even made a couple of very good passes. I think he (had) a real good game but he also will learn from the first half. He has to fight more because he knows to expect that kind of aggressive defense.”
As Jeremy Woo of SI.com writes, after Tuesday’s game, the idea of tanking for a shot at Wembanyama may look even more appealing to a handful of the NBA teams likely headed for a lottery spot this season.
As we outlined when we conducted our over/under polls last month, the Thunder, Pacers, Spurs, Rockets, Jazz, and Magic are projected to be the NBA’s bottom-feeders in 2022/23. But even the league’s very worst team will only have a 14% shot at the No. 1 overall pick in the draft lottery, so a number of clubs will be in play for Wembanyama.
In the wake of Tuesday’s impressive showcase, we want to know what you think. Which lottery-bound team would be the best landing spot for Wembanyama?
You can interpret that question in any way you like — there are, of course, certain teams that might be more ideal for the big man’s development, while certain landing spots would just be flat-out entertaining. For instance, as Tom Ziller notes on his Substack, if the Lakers’ 2023 first-round pick lands at No. 1, the Pelicans would be able to swap their own first-round pick for it and pair Wembanyama with Zion Williamson.
Does that Pelicans scenario sound like one you’d want to play out? Or would you rather see Wembanyama join forces with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Chet Holmgren in Oklahoma City; Jalen Green and Jabari Smith in Houston; Paolo Banchero and Franz Wagner in Orlando; Cade Cunningham, Jaden Ivey, and Jalen Duren in Detroit; or Tyrese Haliburton and Bennedict Mathurin in Indiana?
Head to the comment section to weigh in with your thoughts!