Lose for the jackpot. The new NBA season has only just begun, but managers are already thinking about the upcoming season and a very special player for whom many clubs are even willing to play poorly on purpose.
Victor Vembanyama (18) is driving everyone crazy in the USA. The Frenchman, who currently still plays for the first division team Metropolitans 92 and is due to move to the NBA in the summer of 2023, has been described as a “generational talent”, a talent that only exists once in every generation. Vembanyama is 2.19 meters tall but can handle the ball like a keeper. He has trios and crossovers in his repertoire. He learned the basics since childhood, his mother Elodie, his grandparents were basketball players. Father Felix participated in triple jump competitions.
Holger Geschwindner (77), the discoverer and mentor of German basketball legend Dirk Nowitzki (44), trained for a week at the Vembanyama basketball camp last year. The football player’s adviser had specially put him there. “Victor can change basketball. Because he is one of the few who can introduce something new to the NBA,” says Geschwindner to SPORT BILD.
No wonder so many NBA clubs want to sign the Congolese. But how? Winning as little as possible. Because the more games a club loses, the more likely it is to get the first pick in next year’s draft, where clubs can select the best young players, and secure Vembanyama.
Teams like San Antonio are letting go of their best players like Dejounte Murray (26/Atlanta) and letting inexperienced pros play. The Indiana Pacers have assembled a team around Daniel Theis (30) that is one of the worst in the league. Oklahoma is giving its injured running back Chet Holmgren (20/ft) all the time in the world to heal. Anything for the worst balance sheet possible.
The tactic called “tanking” is a thorn in the NBA’s side. The head coach of the league, Adam Silver (60), warns. “I know a lot of our teams are excited about the idea that they can get a Victor through our lottery.” But with many clubs looking to “tank”, there is also risk. big Because the lottery ensures that the worst team doesn’t automatically get the first pick in the draft.
A few teams are still willing to take the risk. Experts predict at least eight of the 30 NBA clubs. ESPN recently quoted an unnamed club executive. “We have an unprecedented race for the last place.”
Just how big the hype is is shown by the fact that the NBA app broadcasts live all matches of the Metropolitans 92 club in Wembanyama in the French championship. This has never happened before.
Victor is an alien
LeBron James (37 / LA Lakers) raves about the French. “Victor is an alien. His agility and skills are seen once in a generation.” The Frenchman himself says: “I want to be the player no one has seen before.”
But Geschwindner also sees dangers. “He is a new type of basketball player and he also needs a new type of coach. The participants learned in the traditional way of coaching. it’s all about hiding players’ weaknesses. If they try to fit Viktor into that mold, he can be a disappointment.”
Another obstacle. Vembanyama, despite being 2.19 meters tall, weighs a little less than 100 kg and looks frail. Geschwinds. “But he shouldn’t do too much strength training or he’ll be broken at 25. And before that, he loses his mobility.”