Will Victor Wembanyama join the San Antonio Spurs? It is in any case the Texas franchise which will first choose the player of its choice in the draft of June 22, according to the lottery carried out on Tuesday May 16. Except surprise, the Spurs should therefore select the French prodigy, called to make his debut in the NBA, the North American professional basketball league, in October.
The hope of world basketball, aged 19 and measuring 2.21 meters, is indeed the big favorite to be the number 1 in the draft. He is the most popular of the sixty candidates who will be recruited one by one, over two rounds, by the thirty franchises of the highest championship in the world.
No player had been so expected in the United States since LeBron James, exactly twenty years ago. The current player of the Metropolitans of Boulogne-Levallois (Hauts-de-Seine) will land in the North American league having already conquered the United States. In the fall of 2022, his domination during the two exhibition matches played in Las Vegas (Nevada) by the Metropolitans against a team made up of other talents likely to be drafted had convinced the ultimate refractories.
” My hearts beats very fast “
It was around 2:30 a.m. in Paris on the night of Tuesday to Wednesday when Mark Tatum, vice-president of the NBA traditionally in charge of this mission, revealed to the cameras the name of the happy franchise, after a process combining probability and chance, which initially gave the San Antonio Spurs a 14% chance of winning this lottery, the maximum possible.
Surrounded by his family and friends, including PSG star Kylian Mbappé, during an evening organized for this occasion, “Wemby” closely followed this event. “I can’t really describe how I feel, my heart is racing. I have everyone I love around me, it’s a really special moment that I will remember all my life. I am a team player, I will do everything to win as many matches as possible. I wanna try to get a ring [de champion] as soon as possible, so be prepared”he reacted hotly to the microphone of the ESPN channel.
Impressive with his ease in managing the enormous expectations around him in recent months, Victor Wembanyama could not hide his emotion this time.
Admittedly, he will only officially know his destination in five weeks, during the annual high mass of the draft, organized on June 22 in Brooklyn, New York. That evening, his name is expected to be spoken first by league commissioner Adam Silver, who will thus reveal the Spurs pick.
In the footsteps of Tony Parker
We cannot imagine the Spurs setting their sights on a player other than him, among the 60 “leads” (“hopes”) from American universities, the G-League (minor league, antechamber of the NBA) and foreign championships, which will be selected one by one over two rounds (i.e. two per club).
“Le Monde” deciphers the news and the challenges of the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
San Antonio and France is already a great love story in the world of basketball. Twenty-two years ago, the Texas team had selected a certain Tony Parker, with the success we know: four league titles out of the five that Spurs have. “After all the history I had there, it would be huge”also agreed “TP” in recent days.
Wembanyama will therefore likely be taken in hand by Gregg Popovich, one of the best coaches in the history of basketball. A makeover for the 74-year-old veteran, who obviously hopes to revive his franchise, which ended up with one of the three worst records in the league this season.