“He is what Yao Ming was when he came over from China” – NBA analyst asserts Victor Wembanyama is going to be phenomenal in NBA and would scale up business for his franchise

Metropolitans 92 v G League Ignite
Victor Wembanyama - Metropolitans 92 vs. G League Ignite.

Victor Wembanyama continues to be one of the most highly touted prospects for the upcoming NBA draft. On Tuesday, he competed in a highly anticipated showdown with fellow top prospect Scoot Henderson. The G League Ignite Team faced the Metropolitans 92 in Las Vegas as countless NBA scouts and executives looked on.

On the heels of his showdown with Henderson, NBA analyst Kendrick Perkins spoke about the ceiling for Wembanyama. The way Perkins sees it, Wembanyama could see a level of superstardom that rivals Yao Ming. During a recent episode of ESPN's "Swagu & Perk," Perkins said:

"He's going to come into the NBA and he's going to dominate, period. Right off the bat, make no mistake about it, he's going to dominate. He's going to be box office, people are going to want to come see him. He is what Yao Ming was when he came over from China."

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At just 18 years old, the French prospect is one of the most unique and intriguing young talents the league has seen in recent years. Considered a unicorn by most standards, Wembanyama seamlessly blends many facets of the game.

Fortunately for fans, they don't need to wait a year to see Victor Wembanyama at his best. There are no plans for Wembanyama to be shut down until the NBA draft. However, the NBA will likely face a tanking problem as teams will try to get the best odds to draft Wembanyama.

NBA's tanking problem for Victor Wembanyama

Victor Wembanyama - Metropolitans 92 vs. G League Ignite.
Victor Wembanyama - Metropolitans 92 vs. G League Ignite.

The NBA has always had a tanking problem. If there's a strong draft class, teams with very little chance of making the playoffs can choose to tank rather than play for wins. The Philadelphia 76ers' "Trust the process" mantra was based on this very formula. And as detrimental as it might seem, it mostly works.

With top prospects like Victor Wembanyama and Scoot Henderson in the 2023 draft class, one can only assume that teams must have already considered tanking. With teams presumably preparing to tank, NBA commissioner Adam Silver was asked about it. He replied:

"I know that many of our NBA teams are salivating at the notion that potentially, through our Lottery, that they could get him. So, they should all still compete very hard next season."

While almost every rebuilding team might want Victor Wembanyama, having the worst record doesn't guarantee the No. 1 draft pick. The league changed its draft lottery so that even the three worst teams have only a 14% chance of getting the first pick. In the past, teams with lesser odds have moved up the draft order, too.

So, while tanking might seem profitable, the new draft odds discourage teams from going all the way in. The league introduced the play-in tournament in 2020 as a part of its return during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the NBA has continued with the format as it makes end-season games more interesting.

Regardless of how the draft odds work, teams will still definitely tank to get Victor Wembanyama and Scoot Henderson. After all, 14% is still the highest chance any team has of drafting them.

Edited by Rajdeep Barman
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