I will admit it, during the entirety of the last San Antonio Spurs season, I knew that the team was well positioned to get the top pick in the NBA Draft Lottery, but I could not let myself dare to hope that it would happen. This meant that as the basketball world came into closer and closer orbit around Victor Wembanyama, I chose to remain blissfully unaware. Now, while the merits of self-imposed ignorance are many and varied, the truth is that those in my position have some catching up to do.
So I’ve dived deeply into the world of Wemby content in order to prepare this pre-draft guide for anyone who finds themselves in need of context and background on the player everyone is expecting to be picked first in the NBA Draft.
I’ve chosen to begin with this video from The Ringer. J. Kyle Mann regularly turns out excellent work, but he’s outdone himself with this video that does an excellent job of contextualizing Wemby’s skills and what they’ll mean to the league that will be showcasing them.
Here’s an ESPN video in which Victor declares for draft and discusses some of his insane plays on both offense and defense.
I enjoyed this profile from ESPN that aired January of this year that begins with Wembanyama’s agent discussing the teams as the bottom of the standings and goes on to provide a ton of background information as well as a description of the role that Pistol Pete Maravich’s ballhandling videos played in VW’s development.
In SI’s profile, Victor talks about being a fan of science fiction, how he’s such a Start Wars geek that he reads the books! And and he drops the following quotes: “Every game is an artwork in itself” — “I like being called an alien.” “There’s really not pressure … I’m just focused on my goals.”
In this ESPN post-lottery conversation, Brian Windhorst, Tim Bontemps and Tim MacMahon discuss their take on Wemby, evaluate the environment of San Antonio as a place for him to develop, and gush about the sheer talent he displays.
Here’s a crew at ESPN in the aftermath of the series that Wembanyama’s team played in Vegas against Scoot Henderson’s Ignite team, which includes the stellar quotes: “...these showcases, never match the hype, and this one exceeded the hype” and “LeBron would have gone second in a draft behind Wembanyama.”
This piece from Zach Lowe and Jonathan Givony considers the San Antonio Spurs’ chances to make the playoffs next season, and includes an expectation that there isn’t a question “about how good is he going to be, but how quickly is he going to be good.”
Here’s on that I found particularly enjoyable. It’s Tim MacMahon and Kirk Goldsberry discussing San Antonio’s current roster (Jeremy Sochan specifically) and how any new dynasty in SA will be built on defense. Around the 17th minute, they consider VW with the Spurs as one of the more interesting Sports science projects in league history (how do you build this guy sustainably?) with a mention of how PATFO responded to extending Timmy’s career as his knee became more of a problem — which is where “load management” started becoming a thing. (Remember “DNP: Old”?) They end with a terrific closing comment from Kirk, “I’m happy for the league itself, because if there’s one organization who can take a French phenom and turn him into a Finals MVP, it’s San Antonio.”
I love the YouTube channel Thinking Basketball, and this video that just dropped is a testament to the kind of content Ben Taylor creates, as well as an excellent analysis of what it takes to be successful in the NBA today.
For anyone who wants to read (instead of just watching videos) do yourself a favor and enjoy Jesus Gomez’s post about why VW is a perfect prospect.
Finally, Ricky O’Donnell dropped this gem earlier today: 35 plays that prove VW’s one of the best draft prospects ever. If you’ve gotten down here without watching any video, then this isn’t a bad link to use to update yourself in a single go.
Enjoy Draft Night, and have a wonderfully Wemby summer!