Victor Wembanyama is putting the NBA world on notice.
The 18-year-old French player has hoops fans dreaming of a transcendent star after his performance in Tuesday night's exhibition between his Metropolitans 92 and Scoot Henderson's G League Ignite. Wembanyama displayed an unprecedented skill set for a 7-foot-4 prospect by draining seven three-pointers and swatting five blocks.
As one anonymous NBA general manager told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, teams are already salivating over the opportunity to draft Wembanyama next year.
“It feels like last night will start a race to the bottom like we've never seen."
Wembanyama dazzled viewers by scoring 37 points in Nevada, his first game in the United States. While Henderson also validated the hype with 28 points, the big man made a convincing case to warrant the No. 1 spot in the 2023 NBA Draft.
The hype is only going to grow. Wojnarowski and Jonathan Givony reported a lofty comparison from a general manager "with a chance to contend" for the top pick.
"He's a 7-foot-4 [Kevin] Durant who blocks shots -- and he's not even close to what he's going to be," the GM said. "He will be the most hyped player since LeBron [James]."
Woj and Givony examined how Wembanyama could impact the upcoming NBA season. The chance to select Henderson as a worthy consolation prize could further motivate tanking in 2022-23.
"There won't only be a race to the bottom, but an opportunity for playoff and championship contenders to have more impactful players available to acquire in deals," they wrote. "Executives believe that could include more players available far sooner than the February trade deadline. The NBA flattened draft lottery odds to curb tanking in 2019, giving the teams with the three worst records a 14 percent chance each at winning the No. 1 pick in the draft lottery. The possibility of landing either Wembanyama or Henderson rises to 27 percent for the teams with the three worst records."
Lottery-bound NBA teams -- and fans of those clubs -- will get one more opportunity to watch Wembanyama and Henderson oppose each other on Thursday.