The NBA preseason is in full swing, and a lot of fans are excited for basketball to be back, even if the season hasn't quite started. Though there were obviously a lot of fans who were tuned into the preseason games yesterday, there were also a lot of fans watching another insane contest.
No. 1 projected pick Victor Wembanyama faced off against No. 2 projected pick Scoot Henderson, with Henderson bringing the G-League Ignite to a win against Wembanyama's Metropolitans squad.
Though he ended up losing, a lot of fan attention was focused on Victor Wembanyama, and his 37-point performance, which also featured 7 made 3PT shots and 5 blocked shots. It is clear that this was an extremely dominant individual performance on both ends of the floor for Victor Wembanyama. On top of his elite production, everyone got to see the physical tools and skills combination that has a lot of fans and analysts alike excited about his potential.
As a result of Victor Wembanyama's performance, there has been a lot of speculation about where the big man could potentially get drafted. In this article, we will examine 5 realistic destinations where Victor Wembanyama would get drafted.
5. Utah Jazz
The Utah Jazz moved Rudy Gobert to the Minnesota Timberwolves and Donovan Mitchell to the Cleveland Cavaliers this summer, signaling that they are trying to usher in a new era. Danny Ainge has also prioritized getting draft picks and promising players in trades for veterans this past summer, and it is clear that he is focused on helping the Utah Jazz have an elite start to their new era.
Even though the Utah Jazz managed to acquire some solid young players like Collin Sexton and Malik Beasley this summer when trading their stars, it is clear that the team is nowhere close to being competitive next season. This in turn makes them one of the teams that could end up landing Victor Wembanyama.
On the Utah Jazz, Victor Wembanyama would clearly become the new face of the franchise and give them their most exciting prospect in recent memory. Having Wembanyama as a building block alongside a lot of future picks is a recipe for success, and Danny Ainge would likely be able to build an elite team around Victor Wembanyama that could be championship-caliber.
4. Indiana Pacers
The Indiana Pacers look like a tanking team this year, and they have traded a large number of their veterans to focus on rebuilding. They already have a solid franchise cornerstone in Tyrese Haliburton, and Victor Wembanyama getting drafted there would definitely help them along with their rebuild. The Indiana Pacers have never had a No. 1 pick in franchise history, but it is quite possible that this will be their year.
On the Indiana Pacers, Victor Wembanyama would give the team a long-term solution at the center position, and a franchise superstar that the front office could build around. The biggest issue for the Indiana Pacers has been the fact that they have not really had many superstar-level players in their history, with Paul George and Reggie Miller being the exceptions. Perhaps Victor Wembanyama can be the player to bring the team to prominence.
Though Tyrese Haliburton is obviously a good player, a squad of him and some solid veterans such as Myles Turner and Buddy Hield is unlikely to be a good team in the loaded Eastern Conference. That means they have a good chance of potentially getting the No. 1 pick, and selecting Victor Wembanyama.
3. San Antonio Spurs
The San Antonio Spurs are well-known for their development and winning pedigree, and they also have a history with elite big men such as David Robinson and Tim Duncan. Obviously, they would be a great landing spot for Victor Wembanyama, as they could end up helping him reach his ultimate potential. They also have a decent young core, with Keldon Johnson and Devin Vassell showing that they have the potential to be good two-way players in the future.
This summer, the San Antonio Spurs traded All-Star Dejounte Murray to the Atlanta Hawks, getting a lot of draft picks in return. It is clear that the team is moving towards a new era, as they have been consistently out of the playoffs in the last few years. The Spurs are aiming to get a top-3 pick rather than trying to compete, which has not happened in quite a long time.
There have also been suggestions that the San Antonio Spurs are willing to trade their veterans for first-round picks. If that ends up happening, then their chances of getting Victor Wembanyama will obviously increase, as they will be a worse team, and likely won't win a lot of games with their young core. Under the current NBA lottery rules, the bottom three teams each have a 14 percent chance to win the lottery.
The San Antonio Spurs would be a solid and realistic destination for Victor Wembanyama. Learning under famed coach Gregg Popovich could do wonders for his development, and on the Spurs, Wembanyama could become the best big man of the future.
2. Houston Rockets
The Houston Rockets just drafted Jabari Smith Jr. with the No. 3 pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, but it is unlikely that his addition will make them a super competitive team that reaches even the play-in level. The Houston Rockets went 20-62 last season, and Smith Jr. doesn't project to be a player that can lift them to the playoffs or the play-in tournament despite their talent. That means that they will likely be in the Victor Wembanyama sweepstakes.
There is an opportunity Houston Rockets could potentially form a big three of elite prospects in the 2023 NBA Draft, adding Victor Wembanyama to an already present duo featuring sharpshooting big man Jabari Smith Jr. and a three-level scorer Jalen Green. This could set the Houston Rockets to be a contender for the future, as the Houston Rockets will be an elite team if all three of those players end up developing into stars.
On top of having other top-tier prospects next to him, Victor Wembanyama would also have solid supporting players such as Kevin Porter Jr. and Jae'Sean Tate. There is no doubt that Wembanyama's addition will give them a well-balanced team with a lot of talent.
It is clear that with Wembanyama's addition, the Houston Rockets would become a competitive squad that could be the next elite homegrown team in the Western Conference. Hopefully, they are lucky enough to land the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NBA Draft so that they are able to bring Wembanyama to Houston.
1. Oklahoma City Thunder
The Oklahoma City Thunder are a team that has amassed draft picks for the foreseeable future, and they are clearly in a rebuilding stage as of right now. However, they already have a good young core featuring playmaking forward Josh Giddey, combo guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, lockdown perimeter defender Lu Dort, as well as their No. 2 pick from the 2022 NBA Draft, Chet Holmgren. Victor Wembanyama could be the missing piece to bring the Oklahoma City Thunder back to the playoffs, and eventually a championship.
Victor Wembanyama and Chet Holmgren would form a frontcourt that is versatile offensively with a lot of upside defensively due to their length and speed. Both players are capable shooters, can handle the ball, and also finish in the interior. The two-way potential there would be scary. On top of that, they would have a solid supporting cast with an elite backcourt and a playmaker to set everyone up. Victor Wembanyama also would have plenty of touches on this roster and a solid front office that could build an elite roster around him in the future.
The reason that the Oklahoma City Thunder would be the most realistic and appealing destination for Victor Wembanyama is due to them having another tanking year, as Chet Holmgren got injured for the season, and they were obviously a tanking team in 2022. They are largely the same team as they were last year, and it is a safe bet to say that they likely won't win a lot of games this year.
There is a lot to like about Victor Wembanyama's fit with the Oklahoma City Thunder team. It remains to be seen if he does get drafted there, but there is clearly a good possibility of that happening.