Before he becomes the No. 1 pick in next month’s draft, Victor Wembanyama is enjoying a farewell tour of France, writes Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press. The 7’3″ phenom drew 15,000 fans to his game Sunday in Paris, and they responded with loud cheers to every positive thing he did.
Reynolds notes that Wembanyama’s Boulogne-Levallois team typically plays in a high-school-sized gym with crowds of about 4,000. But with Wembanyama as an attraction, the late-season games have been moved to Accor Arena, which is on par with an NBA facility.
“I have the impression that the people here were real basketball fans who bought their tickets in advance,” Wembanyama said after entertaining the crowd with 25 points, 10 rebounds and four assists. “It’s nice.”
The 19-year-old center is considered a generational talent who will make next week’s lottery one of the most anticipated since the event began in 1985. The Pistons, Rockets and Spurs have the best odds to land the top pick at 14% each.
Wembanyama indicated that he’s paying close attention to the procedure, tweeting Sunday in French, “Ten days before knowing my future team. It’s really a crazy thing.”
Here’s more from around the basketball world:
- The EuroLeague has reached an agreement to have its games streamed on ESPN 3, according to BasketNews. The rights deal will cover the remainder of this year’s playoffs and all of the 2023/24 season. “I am delighted that all U.S. basketball fans will have the possibility to watch all EuroLeague games on ESPN platform,” said Alex Ferrer Kristjansson, Euroleague Basketball marketing and communication senior director. “Globalization is a cornerstone for sports market growth in general and basketball in particular. We are confident that all U.S. basketball fans will appreciate the diversity of our stories and the experience that the EuroLeague delivers during the whole season.”
- Michael Scotto of HoopsHype passes along some information on NBA coaching staffs in his latest column. Scotto reports that Bryan Bailey, Alex Jensen, Igor Kokoskov and Antonio Lang are candidates for Quin Snyder‘s staff with the Hawks; G League head coach Scott Morrison will join Will Hardy’s staff with the Jazz; and David Adkins likely won’t return as the Trail Blazers‘ director of player development next season. Sources also tell Scotto that Will Voigt is a candidate to become the head coach of either the Blazers’ or Spurs‘ G League affiliate.
- Fans shouldn’t pre-judge Bronny James because of however they feel about his father, states Joe Vardon of The Athletic, who agrees with LeBron James that USC is getting “a great kid.”