At 19 years old, Victor Wembanyama of France is seen as a generational NBA Draft prospect. He’s drawn rave reviews from some of the biggest stars in the Association and is the unquestioned No. 1 prospect in the 2023 NBA Draft.
Having recently taken part in the G-League Showcase here in the states against another top prospect in that of Scoot Henderson, the 7-foot-2 big man is on the radar of even the casual fan.
What does that say about front offices around the NBA and those near the bottom of the standings heading into the new year? There’s been a lot of talk about teams tanking for Wembanyama. Most recently, the Detroit Pistons’ decision to shut down former No. 1 pick Cade Cunningham for the season has caught the eye of the Association.
In talking about teams potentially tanking for him, Wembanyama expressed a nice amount of confusion.
“Tanking? It’s a weird strategy. I find it unreasonable, and I try not to think about it. I also heard that the NBA considered changing a few rules for me, but that doesn’t concern me.”Victor Wembanyama on NBA teams tanking for him, via Le Parisien
Seen as potentially the best prospect since LeBron James entered the NBA back in 2003, it makes sense for teams to tank for Wembanyama.
We’re talking about a dude who boasts an eight-foot wingspan, can play every position on the court and has shown unlimited range from distance. With that said, teams can’t be overt in their tanking. It won’t sit well with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and Co.
Teams tanking for Victor Wembanyama could become a major issue
First off, it doesn’t seem like the young man is too keen on the idea of joining a team that opted to tank for an entire season. Even at his age, the idea of being competitive stands above the rest. He made that clear in the aforementioned comments.
Secondly, Silver has made it clear that tanking shouldn’t be the name of the game in the Association. In fact, he brought up the idea of relegation to the G-League for teams that aren’t competitive. It’s a system that’s in place when it comes to European soccer.
“But obviously that is how other leagues deal with situations like this where they force teams to stay competitive because the consequences of finishing at the bottom of the league are dramatically detrimental to the health of the team. But it’s something as I was saying to the folks in Phoenix that we keep our eye on. We understand we are selling competition to our fans.”NBA Commissioner Adam Silver on tanking from back in October
Silver made it clear that this isn’t a real possibility. Though, it’s rather obvious he’s not happy about teams tanking.
- Victor Wembanyama stats (Betclic Élite): 22.9 PPG, 9.6 RPG, 49% shooting
As of right now, Detroit boasts the worst record in the NBA at 9-28. It is followed be the likes of the Charlotte Hornets (9-26), Houston Rockets (10-24) and San Antonio Spurs (11-23) in the race for this young prodigy.