It is tremendously arduous for me to describe Victor Wembanyama with one paragraph. Sometimes, when watching the game, we experienced one phenomenon, one specimen, one human being that is easier to comprehend when watched, rather than being written about. I'm sure most of you have tuned into a Wemby game, whether it was his prodigal FIBA play with France, his breathtaking bouts with fellow top projected pick Scoot Henderson, or his contemporary tape that is expanding every few days with Metropolitans 92. So it's almost futile to go too into depth about a prospect that has been covered on par with the attention of the collapse of the app with the little blue bird on it. But, screw it, I have to! I have to go in depth about a prospect that is so unique (forget about the mundane Chet Holmgren!), so skilled, so gifted. Wemby's sell as a generational prospect obviously starts with the defense. There is so much margin for error with little mishaps and positioning errors just because of his immense wingspan. He erases shots and the rack and instills a fear factor on the other side of the arena with his shot blocking skill. The mobility is something that I have previously said separates him from a guy like Chet defensively, and makes the comp more like Evan Mobley. His footspeed is insane for his size, he has a flexible hip turn, focus and passion to stay in front of his man, and even if he gets switched on to the ultra quick ball handler type that has become commonplace in the NBA over the last few years, his recovery length and strides allow him to mitigate offensive advantages and get clean contests. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying Victor is a god at defense. The positioning and feel of where to be at isn't Jeremy Sochan esque for example (very few players have that uncanny sense). He could take a bit to get acclimated to NBA finishers. But the athletic tools, easy or not easy to see (load time, second jump, FUNCTIONAL length, footspeed, footwork, size) already give him the edge over the Sochans and even Chets on the defensive side of the ball. Offensively is where a fair share of the highlights go for Victor, and, frankly, why wouldn't they? Seeing a 7-5 guy handle the ball so fluidly in transition, attempt stepback threes (a differentiator from Mobley at this age) is freaking enticing. My biggest worry with him has mostly been centered around the handle and the creation in the post, and whether I'm willing to buy that. But he's getting stronger. It's evident that while watching his games in Europe he's going to have a sense of freedom to experiment and improve. This will be a massive year where I'm excited to track how much gravity he commands on the floor, whether the flashes of counters and moves will become actuality, and whether his shooting is as up to speed as the highlights say. And by the way, his shooting isn't perfect at this point. The percentages show some rough stuff, likely because of shot selection and lack of ELITE ELITE touch, but I still buy he has the potential to be one of the best big man shooters in the league. So yeah, that's why everybody is high on Wemby. Perfect prospect, right? But then come the injuries. BOO! BOO! The masses of Wemby fans are made irate by this topic. Over the summer, I pondered whether Chet Holmgren's downright tragic foot injury would affect the prospect case, and let's be honest, it probably does. Historically, the 7 footers of the NBA, Chet, Yao Ming, Kristaps Porzingis, have been very prone to injuries. It's the same thing with Wemby! It feels likely, almost inevitable, that one of these long term injuries are going to come to him, and that's the blatant worry. But at the end of the day, as I posed in my previous assessment of Wembanyama super early in the process, the allure may be greater than the risk of Wemby.
Comparison: Kristaps Porzingis, Rudy Gobert, Evan Mobley, KAT
Ceiling: One of the best players of all time, Hakeem career arc
Floor: Injury Prone Rotational Big/Shorter Career, but still a high level role player