March Madness season has finally come and gone, but the most coveted prospect in the 2023 NBA Draft class remains 7'4 center Victor Wembanyama, who has shown flashes of incredible ball-handling and shot-creation skills for his size, to go along with the incredible rim protection that he provides given his physical stature.
For months, the hype surrounding the young French center has been unreal. But it didn't quite reach the levels it did two days ago, when Wembanyama unfathomably threw down a putback off his own missed shot… from the three-point line.
Sure, fans and pundits have already familiarized themselves with the freakish nature of Victor Wembanyama's game, and how scary of a game-changing presence he can be if he develops to the best of his ability. But that putback dunk was tangible evidence of how transformative Wembanyama can be, making the team that nabs the first overall pick of the 2023 NBA Draft the biggest of winners.
“Honestly, I wish we wouldn't have won so many games this year. We're going to all regret not tanking every game to get this dude,” one unnamed Western Conference executive said, per Jonathan Givony of ESPN.
Tanking has been a point of contention in NBA circles for a while now. But when the system is designed to reward losing with a prospect of Victor Wembanyama's caliber, it would behoove teams to try and put themselves in a position where they can land such a game-changing presence.
What makes Wembanyama such a tantalizing prospect, beyond his ball skills for his size, is his ability to read the game at a high level, which he showed when he anticipated his miss perfectly on his incredible putback jam.
“We all know how special Victor is, but to have that type of reaction time and processing speed to recognize exactly where his miss would end up basically as soon as the ball came out of his hand, and then go get the loose ball and hammer it back in one fluid motion, that just shows you how easy the game comes for him and why he has a chance to be one of the best players we've ever seen,” an Eastern Conference scout said.
Of course, only time will tell if Wembanyama manages to deliver on the hype. But given how well he has played and how often he has showed off his vast array of talents, the 7'4 center could very well become the rare player who manages to live up to the hype, and then some.