In the NBA, the future is always a topic of discussion. Starting this week, we will look at a potential draftee every single week. The 2023 NBA Draft is shaping up to be an all-time class and should be another milestone in the Thunder’s road to competitive basketball.
The draft cycle is volatile, there are always late risers, tournament standouts and players whose stock is cruelly affected by injury.
With that being said, this week’s scouting report will focus on Victor Wembanyama. The so-called “unicorn” or “alien” as LeBron James called him, is listed at 7-foot-4 and 210 pounds.
The projected No.1 overall pick is currently playing with Metropolitans 92 in the LNB Pro A French league. He is dominating professional basketball in a very competitive league at the tender age of 18. He is averaging a league leading 22 points, nine rebounds and three blocks per game.
His team has the best record in the league, 9-1, and Wembanyama is leading the team in a lot of these victories.
Before the French league season started, Wembanyama burst onto the scene when he came to Las Vegas during the G-league showcase. His performances made a definitive case for Victor going #1 next year. In those two games against G League Ignite, he averaged 36 points, seven rebounds and four blocks per game.
It is clear that Wembanyama is the next generational talent to enter the draft, let’s look at how he might fit on the Thunder.
New Age Twin Towers?
When looking at the Oklahoma City Thunder’s roster, the lack of size in front court stands out like a sore thumb. This weakness is as evident as the fact that Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Josh Giddey are the backcourt of the future.
Last year, the Thunder sought to improve their front court by drafting Chet Holmgren out of Gonzaga. Holmgren and Wembanyama share a similar build but Chet is a few inches shorter.
Although, Holmgren is out for the season with a foot injury, he will be back next season. The pairing of Wembanyma and Holmgren would give the Thunder one of the most versatile front courts ever.
Oklahoma City would possess two seven footers that are elite shot blockers, can create their own shot, spread the floor and lead the fast break. It is a top-level pairing comparable to some of the greatest tandems in NBA history.
The “Twin Towers” phrase started with the Houston Rockets in the 1980s when they had Hakeem Olajuwon and Ralph Sampson. The Sampson-Olajuwon was fearsome and watertight defensively until Sampson’s career was cut short due to injury.
The Spurs picked up the baton in the late 1990s. San Antonio tanked, drafted Tim Duncan and put together a front-court that most dream of. David Robinson, MVP in 1995 and Tim Duncan, a future MVP in 2002, were just unfairly dominant.
All four players went on to have hall of fame careers and the Spurs tandem won a championship in their first year together during the 1999-2000 season. Highly skilled front-court pairings share the load and can collectively achieve something brilliant.
If Wembanyma and Holmgren teamed up, they would have a chance to play the majority of their career together. They would have the chance to grow together and become an unstoppable force.
The only concern would be health as both players are skinny seven footers. Aside from that, there is a reasonable chance that both players will be highly productive on the court.
Bol Bol for the Orlando Magic, is showing glimpses of what players with this height and frame can do in the NBA. Bol is averaging 13 points, eight rebounds and two blocks in his first season as a starter.
Wembanyma will be the first player drafted in the 2023 NBA draft, the question is will the Thunder win the draft lottery for the first time in franchise history.
If a miracle, Oklahoma City would boast a nucleus of Gilgeous-Alexander, Holmgren, Giddey and Wembanyma. It would be exciting basketball every single night for the next four years; the future would be unbelievably bright.