Victor Wembanyama has no control over what NBA team he will head to training camp with a year from now — lottery ping pong balls will make that determination. The 7’4″ French wunderkind is the clear consensus No.1 pick on the top of 2023 NBA Draft boards and is projected as a potential generational player.
But in a wise statement for an 18-year-old, he said landing with the right franchise matters more to him than going No.1 — although he’d like to be taken first. From Wembanyama’s interview during a French Basketball League media session, courtesy BasketNews.com.
“The most interesting thing is always to find an organization that will take care of the project and the player. So it’s better to be second, third, or 20th in the draft if you have a better career afterward,” he explained. “I don’t know if it’s pride, I have a part [of me] that says that there should be no one in front of me.”
He likely doesn’t have anyone in front of him (although guard Scoot Henderson of G League Ignite is also considered a potential franchise cornerstone player, and 2023 is generally considered a strong draft at the top). The one thing that could change that is injury — Wembanyama is 7’4″ and weighs just 209 pounds. It’s the same concern that teams had about Chet Holmgren going into this year’s draft, and he is now out for the season with a fluke foot injury. Wembanyama has had some nagging injuries and didn’t play in EuroBasket due to injury concerns.
“That doesn’t worry me,” Wembanyama said about his injury history. “I didn’t have any serious injuries, which is reassuring. We know that in the NBA the [medical] support is the best, light years from here. So there is no reason to worry.”
NBA fans will get the chance to see Wembanyama and Henderson face off when his Parisian team the Metropolitans 92 come to face the G-League Ignite for two games outside Las Vegas in early October. Those two games are not likely to change the top of the draft board, but if Wembanyama falls from that top spot for some reason, he’s okay with it.
So long as he lands in the right spot for his career.