Victor Wembanyama is the most hyped NBA draft prospect since LeBron James. The 7’5 sensation from suburban Paris moves with breathtaking grace and agility around the court, showing off potentially historic play-finishing and rim-protection instincts while also effortlessly stroking three-pointers from deep. There’s a case to be made that Wembanyama would go No. 1 overall in every draft in league history. Now the NBA taking the next step to give their next big thing the exposure he deserves.
The NBA will broadcast every one of Wembanyama’s games with Boulogne-Levallois Metropolitans 92 this season for free on their official app, the league has announced. Here’s how the schedule breaks down so far, more games being announced soon:
- Saturday, Oct. 29: Boulogne-Levallois Metropolitans 92 at Bourg-en-Bresse, 2 p.m. ET
- Friday, Nov. 4: Limoges at Boulogne-Levallois Metropolitans 92, 3:30 p.m. ET
- Sunday, Nov. 20: Nanterre at Boulogne-Levallois Metropolitans 92, 2 p.m. ET
- Saturday, Nov. 26: Boulogne-Levallois Metropolitans 92 at Nancy, 3 p.m. ET
There’s two ideas at play here:
1) It’s awesome the NBA is giving fans access to Wembanyama’s games. We didn’t have this option when Luka Doncic or Josh Giddey or Deni Avdija were on their way to becoming lottery picks in recent years. This is something the league should continue doing in the future to help build the brand of international stars entering the draft.
2) It’s hilarious that the NBA is giving Wembanyama such a big platform in his pre-draft year after already threatening teams for tanking.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver has called tanking a ‘serious’ issue that has ignited ‘hundreds’ of meetings. Here’s what Silver said on tanking last week:
“We put teams on notice,” Silver told employees. “We’re going to be paying particular attention to the issue this year.”
Silver has also gone to bat for the NBA’s new lottery system that flattens the odds at drawing the No. 1 overall pick for the worst teams in the league. The three worst teams in the league each have a 14 percent chance of landing the first pick in the lottery. In the old system, the worst team had a 25 percent chance of landing the first pick. Silver said there’s no perfect solution to the stop tanking for the draft, but said he thinks the new system is the right one.
“You’re dealing with a 14% chance of getting the first pick,” Silver said. “I recognize at the end of the day analytics are what they are and it’s not about superstition. A 14% chance is better than a 1% chance or a no percent chance. But even in terms of straightforward odds, it doesn’t benefit a team to be the absolute worst team in the league, and even if you’re one of the poor-performing teams, you’re still dealing with a 14% chance [of winning the lottery].
Our old friend Tom Ziller once wrote a better solution to stop tanking once and for all: Kill the draft!
Victor Wembanyama of course sits atop our first 2023 NBA mock draft. Read our latest Wembanyama coverage here:
One lucky team is going to win the lottery and end up with Wembanyama to start his career. Just because he’s one of the best prospects ever doesn’t necessarily mean he’s destined to be one of the best players ever, of course. He really is that talented, though.
The Wemby hype is real. Now NBA fans can watch every one of his games for free before he enters the league next year.