Spurs fuel up for planned No. 1 pick Victor Wembanyama

Considering reports circulating that Murray had no intention of signing a future extension with San Antonio, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, it may have been the best possible outcome for either side. The main caveat to consider behind all of this is next year’s blueprint. Victor Wembanyama is available next year. Who? You can ask.

Wembanyama, if you don’t already know, could be the most touted European candidate since Luka Doncic. Wembanyama is an 18-year-old French basketball player who has been playing professional basketball since he was 15. Wembanyama most recently played for ASVEL in the French league LNB Pro A and the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague, the second best league in the world and the highest league in Europe.

He signed a two-year contract with the Metropolitans 92 from Pro A on Thursday, June 30.

Victor Wembanyama of LDLC Asvel Villeurbanne in action during the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague match between Real Madrid and LDLC Asvel Villeurbanne at Wizink Center on March 17, 2022 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Oscar Gonzalez/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Victor Wembanyama of LDLC Asvel Villeurbanne in action during the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague match between Real Madrid and LDLC Asvel Villeurbanne at Wizink Center on March 17, 2022 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Oscar Gonzalez/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Oscar Gonzalez/NurPhoto via Getty Images

He’s listed at a scary height of 7ft 3in and a wingspan of 7ft 9in, but could actually be taller. Wembanyama certainly looks bigger alongside Chet Holmgren, the 7-footer and recent No. 2 overall draft pick.


We’re 12 months away from next year’s draft, but there’s almost no disputing that he’ll be the #1 overall pick. Wembanyama shows promising defensive ability and intuition. It’s not often that someone is able to help the defender down the lane and then also block the open man’s layup attempt. That’s guarding two guys at once.

The tools are also there offensively. Size and athleticism, his ability to move and handle everything calls for a modern day NBA player. Wembanyama is taller than Giannis Antetokounmpo, can shoot over defenders like Kevin Durant and moves better than Holmgren for his size. He covers the ground so quickly that watching him is actually misleading. It appears to be moving in slow motion because of its length.

Wembanyama’s numbers might seem unimpressive from the Pro A, averaging 9.4 points and 4.3 rebounds per game. But adjusted for the stats per 36 minutes, they’re down to 18.4 points and 10 rebounds. Remember that by the time you turn 18 you are playing in a professional adult league. Regardless, he helped ASVEL capture the 2022 Pro A title and won the Pro A Best Young Player award in 2021 and 2022.

VILLEURBANNE, FRANCE - FEBRUARY 11: Jeremy Evans, No. 40 of Panathinaikos Opap Athens and Victor Wembanyama, No. 1 of LDLC Asvel Villeurbanne in action during the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Regular Season Round 26 game between LDLC Asvel Villeurbanne and Panathinaikos OPAP Athens at Astroballe February 11, 2022 in Villeurbanne, France.  (Photo by Romain Biard/Euroleague Basketball via Getty Images)

VILLEURBANNE, FRANCE – FEBRUARY 11: Jeremy Evans, No. 40 of Panathinaikos Opap Athens and Victor Wembanyama, No. 1 of LDLC Asvel Villeurbanne in action during the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Regular Season Round 26 game between LDLC Asvel Villeurbanne and Panathinaikos OPAP Athens at Astroballe February 11, 2022 in Villeurbanne, France. (Photo by Romain Biard/Euroleague Basketball via Getty Images)

Romain Biard/Euroleague Basketball via Getty Images

With the Murray trade, Spurs are finally going through the hard reset, something they haven’t done since Tim Duncan and David Robinson. Yes, the Spurs are more or less refueling. But they don’t fill up for anyone, they fill up for Victor Wembanyama.

Is all this hype really justified? Well, there’s already a Spurs connection here. ASVEL is owned by Tony Parker. Yes, that Tony Parker. I guess Parker and his own front office can confirm if the hype surrounding him is real.

Going forward, San Antonio is tanking for its own pick but has more work for them to do now. The Murray trade gives them future draft capital to either trade themselves or add more pieces. Next year they get their own pick, plus the Charlotte Hornets’ (protected) first-round pick over the Atlanta trade. They also have two other future picks (2025, 2027) and a swap also from Atlanta (2026), but the twist on these picks is that they’re not protected. That means no matter where they end up, they belong to San Antonio, a rarity in today’s NBA. This gives Spurs the flexibility to either close more deals or add parts later.

VILLEURBANNE, FRANCE - FEBRUARY 11: Victor Wembanyama, No.1 of LDLC Asvel Villeurbanne and Jeremy Evans, No.40 of Panathinaikos Opap Athens in action during the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Regular Season Round 26 game between LDLC Asvel Villeurbanne and Panathinaikos OPAP Athens at the Astroballe on February 11, 2022 in Villeurbanne, France.  (Photo by Romain Biard/Euroleague Basketball via Getty Images)

VILLEURBANNE, FRANCE – FEBRUARY 11: Victor Wembanyama, No.1 of LDLC Asvel Villeurbanne and Jeremy Evans, No.40 of Panathinaikos Opap Athens in action during the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Regular Season Round 26 game between LDLC Asvel Villeurbanne and Panathinaikos OPAP Athens at the Astroballe on February 11, 2022 in Villeurbanne, France. (Photo by Romain Biard/Euroleague Basketball via Getty Images)

Romain Biard/Euroleague Basketball via Getty Images

These trades always look bad on the day of because you are giving up real players for potential players. However, remember that when you get the view, it’s worth it. This group was okay, but it’s better to find a generational talent. It’s a situation that rhymes very closely with the 1997 draft, a draft that had a different perspective that became the undisputed number one: Tim Duncan.

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