French basketball phenom Victor Wembanyama will find out on Tuesday which team he is likely to start his NBA career with, during the highly anticipated draft lottery that will determine the lucky franchise destined to choose him first, on June 22.
“Wemby” will only officially know his destination in five weeks, during the annual high mass organized in Brooklyn, during which the 60 best “prospects” (hopes), from American universities, the G-League (minor league , antechamber of the NBA) and foreign championships, will be selected one by one, over two rounds, by the thirty teams in the North American championship.
That evening, barring a huge surprise, his name will be pronounced first by league commissioner Adam Silver, who will thus reveal the choice of the franchise having won the right to select first. Because whoever it is, it should not set its sights on a player other than the Frenchman, even if his main rival, the American leader Scoot Henderson, has something to seduce.
Wembanyama himself, amazed by his ease in managing the enormous expectations around the young man he is still at 19, does not pretend to evoke the expected moment and the excitement which rises in him.
“Ten days before knowing my future team. It’s really crazy,” he tweeted on May 6, before his gala match at Bercy, where he entertained the 15,000 spectators who came to see him succeed. 25 points and 10 rebounds, during the victory of his team, Boulogne-Levallois, against Bourg-en-Bresse (93-82) in Elite.
He obviously does not expect any other scenario than that of being selected first. Something that has never happened to a Frenchman, the highest drafted having been Killian Hayes, in 7th position by the Detroit Pistons in 2020, when Tony Parker, the most glorious of all with his four champion rings, had been chosen in 28th position by the San Antonio Spurs in 2001.
It must be said that for many months, he has been THE favorite to be N.1 in the eyes of many observers, franchise recruiters and even former or current NBA players, who agree that “Wemby”, very mobile, technical and agile despite his large size (2.21 m, 2.43 m wingspan), is a talent as we only see one in a generation, LeBron James going so far as to call him a “extraterrestrial”.
Moreover, since the draft of “LBJ”, chosen by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2003, we had not seen such enthusiasm aroused by a “prospect”. Before becoming “King James”, the latter was announced as “the Chosen One”, his actions and gestures had been scrutinized, his high school meetings broadcast on national channels.
Wembanyama was treated to a small promotional tour well before the hour, in October, near Las Vegas to give a glimpse of his es-basketball talent and his confidence in the American media, the NBA then broadcasting, on his site, his matches played with Boulogne-Levallois. Unheard of for a foreigner.
“A good place”
Since then, LeBron has confirmed the prophecy, competing with Michael Jordan for the status of best player of all time, with a staggering track record, which he is still trying to embellish at 38 years old. This is obviously all the good we can wish for Wembanyama.
It now remains to be seen where the spaceship of the tricolor “extraterrestrial” will land in the starry galaxy of the NBA, knowing that a part of chance comes to bring a little suspense to the case, in this crucial lottery.
Fourteen teams – those having been eliminated from the race for the play-offs – are concerned, but for each one a percentage of chances of being drawn first, determined by its record at the end of the past regular season.
Thus, the three teams with the worst win/loss ratios have a 14% chance of inheriting the first choice. In this case, it is Detroit, Houston and San Antonio.
Next in decreasing order of probability, Charlotte (12.5%), Portland (10.5%), Orlando (9%), Indiana (6.8%), Washington (6.7%), Utah (4 .5%), Dallas (3%), Chicago (1.8%), Oklahoma City (1.7%), Toronto (1%) and New Orleans (0.5%).
If everyone is wondering what would be the ideal team to conquer the NBA, Wembanyama does not worry about it. “A player destined to become a great player, no matter where he falls, it will be the right place. That’s why I don’t worry at all. It will be a good place”.