The young French athletic giant Victor Wembanyama

Since Luka Doncic, no European basketball player has sparked such interest in the NBA as Victor Wembanyama. The 19-year-old young French player is the most likely the player who be drafted first in the NBA this summer.

At 2.19 m he has exceptional mobility and skills for his size, with the ability to handle and shoot the ball like a guard. Due to his height and extraordinary mobility, he easily manages to shoot 3-pointers and it is almost impossible to block his shot from both mid-range and long-range. It is totally atypical for such a tall player to defend as easily as he does against smaller players.

In the 2019–20 season, Wembanyama gained his first professional experience with the Nanterre 92, on 29 October 2019 at 15 years, 9 months and 25 days old, he was the second-youngest player after Stefan Petković to play in the EuroCup. The following season at Nanterre he was named Pro A Best Young Player averaging 6.8 points and 4.7 rebounds per game.

Then came the natural move, the transfer to a Euroleague team, signed a three-year contract with ASVEL. It was an extremely difficult season, which showed how fragile he is at his age and that he needs to put on more muscle. The first time was a fractured finger, then a bone bruise in his right shoulder and after a psoas muscle injury that ended his season. This season, he wanted to have a leading role and play as much as possible, so he took a step back and signed with Metropolitans 92, where in 31 minutes per game he averaged 21.3 points and 9.3 rebounds, helping them to be 2nd in the ranking.

He was selected by France for the World Cup qualifiers and helped France to qualify by averaging 25 minutes, 19 points and 8.3 rebounds. Wembanyama represented France at the 2019 FIBA ​​U16 European Championship leading France to a silver medal with 9 points, 9.6 rebounds and 5.3 blocks per game. At the 2021 FIBA ​​Under-19 Basketball World Cup, he averaged 14 points, 7.4 rebounds and 5.7 blocks per game helping France to win another silver medal.

If he manages to stay healthy, all the prerequisites are for him to become the first “alien” in NBA history, as Lebron James called him.

Valentin Petruta

Photo credit: NBC Sports