PARIS, France – The entire idea of this continuous essay is predicated on the likelihood of tanking. Even while it hasn’t been as evident this season as many had thought, it still exists. It’s possible, if not likely, that the team that signs Victor Wembanyama will be one of those groups that made a decision—or will make a decision—to weaken their 2022–23 team before the trade deadline in order to increase their chances of winning the lottery.
Amazingly, young teen from France becomes the league’s All-Star MVP at a fresh age.
What does that personally feel like for Wembanyama? Unscrupulously. It doesn’t seem to be very good. Wembanyama recently stated, “Tanking? It’s a peculiar method,” in an interview with the French newspaper Le Parisien. Fortunately for Wembanyama, if he joins the NBA, he most likely won’t have to give it any attention.
20-year flashback in a hurry. The Cleveland Cavaliers’ inaugural attempt to put together a championship team around LeBron James failed, and the draft is the easiest explanation for why. A team can add to its first-round selection with more youthful talent from the following two draft pools since it will likely be fairly weak for a few years after that. LeBron, though, was so exceptional that Cleveland chose him in the end after his initial season at No. 10. A mistake was Luke Jackson. That was the lottery selection from the early James period. Before he left in 2010, they only made three more first-round picks because they used their draft money to trade for veterans.
The New Orleans Pelicans improved their strategy with Anthony Davis. It is astounding to consider that the Pelicans did not keep a single first-round pick during his entire tenure in New Orleans past the conclusion of that player’s rookie season. They switched the selections either before the season started or during it.
To speak in contrast, the Dallas Mavericks’ one and only opportunity to be selected in the lottery during the Luka Doncic era was forfeited in the transaction that sent Doncic to Dallas. Dallas failed to go to the playoffs in 2019. They started when the 2019–20 season began, and they haven’t stopped since. However, the Mavericks’ unwillingness to trade up for another star is a big reason why Doncic’s roster is so thin by championship standards.
All of this means that when Wembanyama enters the NBA, he won’t have to worry about his own team tanking. For them to accept him, he will be too good. After he starts stuffing stat sheets, the team in question won’t be adding many new players through the draft, so he’d best hope they have a lot of talent already.
The LNB Pro A’s All-Star break kept Mets 92 off this week, but what about Victor Wembanyama? Well, when you’re the center of the production, there is no time for rest. In the league’s All-Star game on Saturday, he was precisely that. He declined to compete in the dunk competition, but he entered the 3-point competition (which he exited in the first round of) and, to no one’s surprise, stood out during the actual game. He was given game MVP honors thanks to his final stat line of 27 points and 12 rebounds. Oh, and just for good measure, his sole stated objective going into the game was to assist his All-Star France side defeat the All-Star World team.
On the international stage, Wembanyama has made it a habit to break records and pioneer new ground; at the All-Star game, he followed this trend by becoming the youngest MVP in Pro A history.
After the All-Star break, play will continue on Friday with a home game between the Mets 92 and Wembanyama’s former squad, ASVEL. Wembanyama committed to a three-year deal with the organization in 2021, but he chose to sign with Mets 92 early this year and forgo the remaining two years. With the league entering the second half of the year, this decision set the stage for a narrative that should be exciting to follow.