Which team would be the ideal landing spot for Victor Wembanyama? - 05/16/2023
Tonight we are going to finally find out which NBA franchise will own the No.1 pick in the 2023 NBA Draft. In other words, we’ll learn which team will become the most likely home for 7’5 freak Victor Wembanyama, first-ranked player in the Eurohopes 2004-born players ranking and the most coveted gem in this class. The lottery odds already determine which teams are better positioned right now to land the 19 years old phenom, but every team in the TOP 14 has a chance to get him, so sure at some point they’ve been thinking about how he’d fit their project and timeline. Let's figure out why every team in the lottery would like to have Victor Wembanyama next season.
The Detroit Pistons already have a solid pair of guards with star upside in Cade Cunningham and Jaden Ivey, but they need more in many areas to reach the next stage. Victor Wembanyama would clear the path because he fits well in their timeline and wouldn’t collide with the development of their other cornerstones.
Wembanyama and Jalen Duren would be a great defensive tandem. Both are well-known shot-blockers and cover a lot of ground. The Detroit Pistons would need to make some decisions regarding the future of some gambles they took last season like Marvin Bagley or James Wiseman, but the sure thing is no one of them should be a barrier to selecting Victor Wembanyama.
The Houston Rockets have a talented core and can count on Alperen Sengün as an offensive hub in the Center position, but at this point they can still make decisions without showing commitment to their central pieces because they have room for improvement at every position.
The hiring of Ime Udoka will lead the franchise to some major changes. Udoka was a big reason of why Boston Celtics were an elite team on the defensive end last season, so he wouldn’t struggle at all to unleash the gigantic potential of Wembanyama in this area. In addition, the fit of the French player with an outside scoring threat like Jalen Green would be easy to figure out, and they would be only a high-level PG away to completing a hands down franchise-changing summer. The fit with a player like Jabari Smith, well-known for his versatility and size on the defensive end and easy to project in a spot-up role on the offensive end, would look good too.
San Antonio Spurs
The Spurs have demonstrated on many occasions they are a good franchise when it comes to developing franchise players in the Center position. The main reason why the Spurs would be a good place for Wembanyama is clear: Gregg Popovich.
Jeremy Sochan, Devin Vassell and Keldon Johnson are a nice start for the project, and every one of them has improved month by month, but this core needs a star to reach the next level. Wembanyama absolutely fills this need: the three players above-mentioned would be able to adapt to the timing of the French upcoming freshman, and they have the mix of secondary initiation, defensive value and off-ball contribution skills to be the appropriate supporting cast for him. Also, San Antonio is already familiar with the French market and knows how to deal with European stars.
The Charlotte Hornets need to take a swing. Last season didn’t work as planned, and they need to adapt their project to LaMelo Ball’s timing. They already have a loaded perimeter rotation and some reliable role players in the frontcourt, but adding another start would be a great boost for the team they are building.
LaMelo Ball and Victor Wembanyama would be a fun pair. LaMelo’s passing, craftiness and range would mix in a great way with Victor Wembanyama’s rare full package on the offensive end, and at the same time Wembanyama would have a clear path to become the anchor on the defensive end.
Portland Trail Blazers
The Portland Trail Blazers have an elite centerpiece in Damian Lillard, two talented shot-creators in the making like Anfernee Simmons and Shaedon Sharpe, several athletic wings and forwards and a solid, veteran big like Jusuf Nurkic, but the results of last season weren’t the ones they expected. They need to make decisions for the next season. An easy way to make these decisions easier would be obtaining the first selection in the upcoming NBA Draft and choosing Victor Wembanyama.
Damian Lillard is in the final years of his prime span, and usually Freshman players don’t have an immediate term star impact, but Wembanyama is different. He would make Dame’s life easier by not allowing teams to double constantly on him and surely would become the kind of player they need to build a defensive structure in the paint. Wembanyama would clearly benefit too from playing with one of the basketball players with the deepest range in the world and wouldn’t feel the same pressure he would feel in a team with no superstars.
The Magic are probably the rebuilding team in the best spot to compete in the next season in the East. Their Draft selections in the last seasons have worked as good as they could work, and there’s no doubt they have many players with All Star Ceiling like Franz Wagner or Paolo Banchero. Adding Wembanyama to this mix would not only mean the second first pick in a raw but also establishing as an NBA contender in a foreseeable future.
Victor Wembanyama would be a tremendous boost for the Indiana Pacers team. They already have a player with high ceiling in the backcourt in Tyrese Haliburton, but he’s not the kind of do-it-all franchise player, and he would benefit from sharing offensive duties with a player with Victor’s capabilities. Also, playing alongside floor-spacers like Buddy Hield or Ben Mathurin, players that also have the ability to create some offense with second side actions, would help him unleash other areas of his game.
On the defensive end, the Indiana Pacers should have to decide. Nowadays, they have Myles Turners in the lead role, and they’d have to figure out if it’s better for them to pair up them both or move on the above-mentioned NBA veteran.
The Washington Wizards have to make huge decisions related to their front office future and also will have to deal with some key free agents, but it all would look in a wholly different way if they won the NBA Draft Lottery.
The franchise needs to build a strong roster around Bradley Beal, and counting with a player like Wembanyama would not only help them short term in this sense, but it would also mean a raise of their expectations for the future. The picture of a returning Kristaps Porzingis and Victor Wembanyama in the same team would look really intriguing.
Utah has built a strong frontcourt around an elite shot-blocker like Walker Kessler and an efficient scorer like Lauri Markkanen, so their main focus is in other positions. However, we all know how Danny Ainge works: he doesn’t commit to anyone and is one of the executives who like the most taking high risks to improve his teams. For this reason, there should be no question about it: if Utah has the chance, they are going to get Victor Wembanyama for sure.
Lauri Markkanen played some SF for the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2021/22 season and Victor has the tools to become an elite weak side defender, so there’s a way all these players could fit in the same scheme. The Jazz have many first-level role players in their roster and a defined identity on the offensive end, so Wembanyama would land in a team with clear ideas in case he landed in Utah.
Just imagine Luka Doncic and Victor Wembanyama playing together. The two best players Europe has seen recently would certainly be a nightmare for most of the teams in the best league in the world. Like we said when we were discussing Wemby’s fit in Portland, playing with a decision-maker of the caliber of Luka Doncic would make life way easier for both of them.
The Chicago Bulls have a veteran core built for the present. DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine are two great shot-makers in different stages of their prime, and Nikola Vucevic, who will have to decide on his future this summer, is exactly at the same point. The Bulls improved since the trade deadline, but it wasn’t enough to make it to the Play Off, this summer it will be difficult for them to be aggressive in the Free Agency because they won’t have a high amount of money available.
Getting the first pick in the 2023 NBA Draft would not only allow them to get a new potential franchise player but would also give them some margin to add talent without having the salary in mind. Wembanyama would be obviously a great fit for the Chicago Bulls: he would be their anchor on the defensive end and a great ally for players like Alex Caruso. In addition, he would be a new threat on the offensive side that would unleash other levels for his teammates and open new ranges for the team offense.
Oklahoma City Thunder
OKC made giant strides last season and demonstrated they’ll be a threat in the West really soon. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Josh Giddey, Jalen Williams and company made some noise in the league, and they were missing their go-to-guy in the frontcourt: Chet Holmgren. OKC already has the talent to make the postseason in the NBA and the ceiling of the team is really high considering only their current core, but they have the assets to be even more dangerous. If they somehow put together Chet Holmgren, Wembanyama and the amount of tall ball-handlers they already have on the roster, they would surely become the funniest team in the NBA…and a switchy nightmare on the defensive end.
We still don’t know who will be the next Toronto Raptors HC, but we can be sure he’d like to have Victor Wembanyama on the roster. The Raptors love long and lengthy players and always have tried to take advantage of wingspan. Wembanyama fits this requirement as well as a player can fit it, and he’d add a ton of offensive talent to the mix, which would be a huge help for players like Scottie Barnes or even Pascal Siakam.
New Orleans Pelicans
The New Orleans Pelicans have some question marks on their roster that will help us to make a clear idea of their potential for the upcoming years, but they don’t have a player like Victor Wembanyama on the roster. Adding a C of his type would be huge. He would become their high-level rim protector and, on the offensive end, he would easily be able to live with a paint-dependant player like Zion Williamson. Like for every other team, Victor Wembanyama would become a game-changer for the Pelicans.