the teams ready to do anything to recruit the “Frenchie” Victor Wembanyama?

The NBA may have resumed last night, with a new recital by Stephen Curry’s Warriors, the defending champions, all eyes are on one man: Victor Wembanyama. American recruiters are already training to pronounce the name of the Frenchie who impresses with his size and stature. Just of age, he is indeed advancing with certainty towards the NBA planet after having dazzled observers again on Tuesday and Thursday during the American tour of the Metropolitans in Las Vegas. The young French interior, trained in Nanterre and passed by Asvel, is presented as the new nugget of French basketball and promised a glorious future in the NBA.

The American League now covets the Frenchie. So they adopted a strategy known across the Atlantic: tanking. The principle is simple and consists of losing as many matches as possible to find yourself poorly ranked. What is the point ? Poorly ranked teams are more likely to get the 1st choice of the Draft (the gateway for any player who dreams of shining in the big North American basketball league) in June 2023 and therefore potentially Victor Wenbanyama. « He went to two demonstration matches there and he scored 70 points », explains journalist Thierry Bretagne at the microphone of Europe 1. « We have never seen that in France. He is a player who can change the face and the planet of basketball. »

A hen with the golden eggs?

So how do these teams actually rank at the bottom of the table? Don’t worry, nobody is going to intentionally miss shots or stop defending… It’s more pernicious… they transfer their best players to weaken themselves. It sounds crazy seen from Europe, but in a closed league like the NBA where no team is relegated, the risk is minimal… and the gain can be immense. Recovering Wenbanyama could increase the value of a franchise by $500 million, according to an NBA expert.

Parents immersed in the world of basketball

If, at 18, he is not yet known to the general public, Wembanyama risks very quickly seeing his notoriety go beyond the simple framework of basketball aficionados by his height, 2.21 m, and his physique, long, thin and stretched. It is in Chesnay, in this well-to-do town of Yvelines, that little Victor begins to handle the orange ball. This gifted man who arrived in Nanterre at the age of 10, before joining the training center four years later, quickly rose through the ranks, to the point of making his professional debut in the European Cup at the age of 15. Dazzling at the U19 World Cup in July 2019, he gained even more notoriety but had to settle for the silver medal with the Blueberries, beaten by the United States in the final.

Despite a 2021-2022 season undermined by repeated injuries, he was crowned French champion with Asvel, which he left in June for the Metropolitans 92. Pre-summoned to prepare for Eurobasket, he had to forfeit injury. This is the only – potential – shadow on the board: the physical. Even if he has made enormous progress in this aspect at Nanterre, Wembanyama remains frail (he is painfully approaching 100 kilos) and will have to thicken up to resist, at first, the physical battles of the Elite Championship with the Metropolitans.

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