The Eagle’s Cry Debates: Victor Wembanyama


In the past week, the NBA annual lotteries have been held. Usually, the owners of these top picks have many months leading up to the draft to decide who they will select.

For the San Antonio Spurs of the NBA, the pick is practically official already: the Spurs will take Victor Wembanyama, the approximately 7’5″ French juggernaut with a silky smooth game on both ends of the court. The 19-year-old is a phenomenal shot-blocker and smart defensive player, which is understandable at his size. But, what makes him so remarkable is his offensive prowess. He can dribble seamlessly, shoot from anywhere inside or outside the arc, and has a keen passing eye, all at an extremely high level of athletic ability and pure size. To see such unanimous selections in the number one slot is very rare, but very exciting also. Fans have many months of preparation to see how this prodigy can fit into the team already in San Antonio, and the very bright future of this potentially soon-to-be superstar will be hyped up tremendously by the media and fans alike.

The Spurs finished a Western Conference’s worst 22-60, which gave them shared leading odds with the Houston Rockets and Detroit Pistons for the first pick equally. The Spurs have won the championship under legendary Head Coach Gregg Popovich in 1999, 2003, 2005, 2007, and most recently in 2013. Similarly, these teams were lead by Hall of Fame bigmen David Robinson and then directly after, Tim Duncan, both of which were also the first overall picks in their respective drafts. Many are drawing this comparison with Wembanyama as the next big man to go first overall to San Antonio and blossom into an all-time great. San Antonio also has a great history of developing foreign-born talent. Aforementioned Tim Duncan, although technically American, is from the U.S. Virgin Islands, an overseas American territory, while Hall of Famers Manu Ginóbili (Argentina) and Tony Parker (France) are also not from the States. Wembanyama’s actual playing ability is what will make him the next foreign-born Spurs legend, the next first-overall pick great Spurs big man.

Basketball aficionado and fellow Eagle’s Cry journalist Jake McAuliffe comments this about Wembanyama’s unique set of circumstances as he enters the NBA. (Ed. note: *The following interviewee is a Wembenyama hater*

“The comparison of Wembenyama to any other great NBA prospect is preposterous. Wembenyama is a completely unconventional athlete that has been way too over-hyped. As cool as they may be, “Unicorn” NBA players don’t work, this isn’t NBA2k. They all get hurt. I’m aware you can’t predict injuries, but I’m going to. Yao Ming, Kristaps Porzingis, and more recently, who hasn’t even been able to play a single NBA game yet, Chet Holmgren, have all been talked about like Wembenyama is, although this Frenchman is probably the least suited for the NBA at his size and weight. Even if he is good, he’d be lucky to have a career with 5 full good seasons. Scraping 20 PPG in a less competitive league than the NCAA, also he’s not even in the most competitive overseas league. Or the second. Or the third. Or the fourth. or the fifth. or the sixth. The seventh ranked overseas league. He’s not all that. Mange tes mots, crétin. Le grand homme dégingandé suce”.

Despite McAuliffe’s fervent hatred of Wembanyama as a prospect and seemingly as a whole person, some other members of The Eagle’s Cry‘s sports department believe in Wembanyama like I do. Robbie Ackerly, Bucks fan and optimistic NBA enthusiast, is a colleague who sees the promise in Wembanyama. Here’s what he has to say about the Parisian:

“Oh man, I have not been this excited about a basketball prospect in a long time. How could you not love watching this 7 foot 4 demi-god 2k build send a shot into the stratosphere and then come down the floor and splash a three. Along with his fun to watch play style, Wembanyama is unbelievably talented. Offensively he has great touch, despite Victor being able to throw down a dunk with ease…he can still finish around the rim other ways with beaucoup grace. His ability to stretch the floor is elite, and he posseses some nice ball handling for a man of his size. People also question his ability to defend, but he certainly does not lack the ability to hold down the paint. Wembanyama is an excellent shot blocker, he is very quick and agile giving him the ability to alter almost every shot on the floor. The foolish comparsions to Chet Holmgren annoy me, as Chet was not a consensus first overall pick and does not posses the amount of untapped potentional that Victor Wembanyama does. The injury concerns are also not a valid argument against Wembanyama because nobody can predict injuries. This 7’4 wunderkind is truly a one of a kind prospect, and I am so excited to watch the Wembanyama era begin.”

Despite the very polarized opinion os sports fans at BHS, the facts are simple. To compare Wembanyama to any other unanimous first overall pick, such as LeBron James or Zion Williamson, would be inappopriate. Wemby is a phenomenal player who can quickly or even instantly be the best players on his team, and one of the best young players amongst the league’s best young players. It would be surprising if Wembanyama does not walk out of his rookie season with Rookie of the Year honors. It would even be surprising if Wembanyama does not become a star in the league, perenially atop the MVP leaderboards and consistently helping his team to win at the biggest stage.

This young man is extraordinary, and the NBA is going to be very exciting to watch with this player ready to take on the biggest stage.