On the 27th, the Basketball World Cup European qualifying match between France and Lithuania was held in Trellage, France. A player flew into the air and lightly put in a one-handed alley-oop dunk. This is Victor Wembanyama (19, France), a French teenager who reserved the first pick in the 2023 NBA draft to be held in June this year. The draft is four months away, but the atmosphere is already as hot as it was in 2003 when LeBron James was drafted first overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers.
James said Wem Van Yama hadn’t even made his NBA debut, but he’s like an “alien.” He’s never seen a player that tall and moves so smoothly,” he said. Stephen Curry (Golden State) praised him, saying, “It looks like a player made in NBA 2K (basketball game).” Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks) said, “(France) is taller than Rudy Gobert (2m16cm, Minnesota), but he can shoot like Kevin Durant (Phoenix Suns)” and said, “crazy.” wrote the expression
Wembanyama’s height is 7 feet 4 inches, 2m21cm, and his wingspan, which is the length of his arms extended, reaches 2m44cm. Born in Le Chenet, France in 2004, he inherited the height of his father (1m98cm), a track and field long jumper from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and his mother (1m91cm), a French basketball player. He dribbles quickly like a guard while power forward and center Wembanyama dominates the paint zone and even hits a stepback 3-pointer.
In the French league this season, he ranks first in points (22.2 points), rebounds (9.5), and blocked shots (3.1). It is a hot topic to the extent that the NBA homepage broadcasts the Metropolitan 92 game of his team. The International Basketball Federation even apologized for posting a fake interview that Wembanyama didn’t even do. 슬롯사이트
In July of last year, in the U-19 World Cup match against Korea, he scored 16 points and 9 rebounds in just 18 minutes, leading to a 117-48 victory. Wembanyama scored 73 points in two games against Ignite of the NBA Lower League G League held in Las Vegas, USA last October. He made seven 3-pointers in Game 1 alone.
Ha Seung-jin, a center from the national basketball team, said on YouTube, “He is the same height as me, but his wingspan is 18 cm longer and he moves like Durant. A 2m21cm tall player participates in the rebound and then runs straight to finish with a dunk. It takes 10 to 12 steps from end to end (28m) of the court. Tall height broke the prejudice that his feet were slow. The defense is good and the shooting curve is beautiful. Isn’t it a cheat key (secret key)? I am not a fraudulent character.”
The NBA draft picks are held in May. Each of the bottom three teams in the league is given a 14% chance of first pick. Although ‘tanking’, which deliberately competes for the top rank in the next season’s draft, is not explicitly done, the teams that were eliminated from the playoff competition early turned their attention to Wembanyama. Assuming the season ends like this, the Houston Rockets (13-47), San Antonio Spurs (14-47), and Detroit Pistons (15-46) can aim for the first pick in the nomination lottery.
However, Wembanyama is still evaluated as an ‘unscratched lottery ticket’. “You never know until you come to the NBA,” said NBA legend Charles Barkley. He has to play against adults who are physically better than the Czech players. He’s not going to make an impact as soon as he debuts like LeBron James.” French national team Wemban Yama recorded 22 points, 17 rebounds, and 6 blocked shots in the Basketball World Cup European qualifying game against the Czech Republic on the 24th. However, under the goal, he exposed his weakness of being pushed by a Czech player and getting a two-handed dunk. Analysts say that he, who weighs 105kg and is skinny, needs to increase his muscle mass and improve his defense in order to block big NBA stars like Antetokounmpo and Joel Embiid (Philadelphia).
Just as Tony Parker from France led the NBA’s heyday in the 2000s, the ‘Wembby craze’ named after Wemban Yama is blowing in France. National team home games are almost sold out. It is often compared to soccer star Kylian Mbafe (25, Paris Saint-Germain), who led the Qatar World Cup runner-up. The two met and took a picture, and Mbappe, who is 40 cm shorter than Wemban Yama, looked like his elementary school student. “We have a lot in common,” said Wembanyama. Mbappe inspires me a lot. But I want to carve out my own path,” he said.