Victor Wembanyama is a generational prospect. As a result, he comes in at No. 11 despite never playing an NBA game. The 19-year-old Frenchman was selected first overall by the San Antonio Spurs in the 2023 NBA Draft. He was an extremely sought-after No. 1 pick, as Wembanyama is arguably the most prominent draft prospect since LeBron James in 2003.
Top 25 NBA Players Under 25: No. 11 – Victor Wembanyama
Although Wembanyama, or “Wemby,” hasn’t played an official NBA regular season game, he already has plenty of professional experience. He has played professional basketball since 2019, most recently with Metropolitans 92. As you would expect with such a coveted prospect, Wembanyama dominated.
Despite his age, Wembanyama averaged 21.6 points, 10.5 rebounds, 3.1 blocks, and 0.7 steals per game. His points, rebounds, and blocks averages lead the Pro A league in each respective category. He was also efficient while doing so, with shooting splits of 47/28/83. As a result, Wembanyama was the youngest player ever to be awarded the LNB Pro A MVP Award. His accomplishments didn’t end there, as the seven-foot-four big man also won Defensive Player of the Year.
Wembanyama has limitless potential in the NBA. He is reportedly going to start for the Spurs at power forward. Playing the four instead of center makes sense for a variety of reasons.
Firstly, given his frame, he’s unfortunately more prone to injuries. Keeping Wembanyama at power forward, where he won’t have contact in the post as often, should reduce the likelihood of injury. Los Angeles Lakers big man Anthony Davis is taking a similar approach. While he can certainly play center, the team prefers using him at power forward to help preserve Davis for the playoffs.
Additionally, Wembanyama is 210 pounds. He has gone on record saying he doesn’t want to bulk up much. His versatility is a large part of what makes him a “unicorn” or “alien” and a perfect modern-day big man.
Wembanyama will be one of the NBA’s best defenders from day one. His immediate impact on defense is a significant reason he is so high in the rankings despite only playing two Summer League games. He’s someone that teams will have to specifically game plan their offense around and avoid plays that involve him as a defender as much as possible.
With his length and basketball IQ, Wembanyama will be one of the league’s best help defenders. He can guard his man while simultaneously protecting the paint.
The Spurs and Wembanyama will have to be more patient on offense. He’s shown flashes of being the go-to offensive scorer, as evidenced in his second Summer League game, where he scored 27 points.
Still, Wembanyama doesn’t have a “go-to” offensive identity. He seems to be good but not elite at everything on the offensive end, whether it’s shooting, post moves, or isolation situations. The league will be in trouble once he fully develops his offensive game and becomes more consistent.
The Last Word on Victor Wembanyama
The good news for Wembanyama is that he couldn’t have gone to a better organization for developing big men. Former first-overall picks David Robinson and Tim Duncan are prime examples of Spurs big men having successful Hall of Fame careers.
Wembanyama could very well be next in line.
ALSO READ: Ranking the NBA’s 3 Best Offseason Moves