Victor Wembanyama's Home Debut: What I Saw and Heard
The projected No. 1 NBA Draft pick is back in action, and I'm back to break down his game
LEVALLOIS-PERRET, FRANCE — After a long day of travel across the Atlantic Ocean, extended phone conversations with Charles de Gaulle Airport lost and found to locate the Apple Watch I left on the plane to Paris and feeling the effects of jet lag, I ruined a pair of new sneakers attempting to dodge puddles en route to watching Victor Wembanyama make his home debut in the Paris suburb of Levallois-Perret.
Wembanyama, the projected top pick in June’s NBA draft, already has front office executives and scouts crisscrossing between North America and Europe to analyze and overanalyze his every move and critique each possession of what is expected to be his one and only season with Metropolitans 92.
Rewind: My first trip to see Wembanyama
This was my second opportunity to evaluate Wembanyama in person, the first being on my wedding day a little more than a year ago. That memorable day, I convinced my wife that we were going to witness a generational talent — before he was famous — and it would be a unique first date as a married couple. She was already intrigued by my love for basketball and didn’t yet have a full grasp of my career since we had met during the earlier days of COVID, when the world was at a standstill.
After I showered her with specifics on Wembanyama’s enormous potential, she was baffled by his thin frame at first look. And his lack of production — seven points in 14 minutes of action while racking up early fouls against Ismaël Kamagate (selected 46th overall in the 2022 draft) — probably made her question my eye for talent.
A lot has changed since November. My wife and I are now the parents of a 10-week-old baby boy, and Wembanyama has transitioned from a supporting role on ASVEL to the main attraction on Metropolitans 92.
Tuesday: Wembanyama’s home debut
Traveling alone and away from our son for the first time, I experienced déjà vu early in Tuesday’s game when Wembanyama picked up three fouls in his first four minutes of action.
Wembanyama had averaged better than 30 points per game in a pair of exhibitions and his first regular-season game, so naturally I had gotten geared up for a show.
Wembanyama and Metropolitans 92 were facing off against Élan Béarnais, an opponent (featuring Michael Stockton, son of NBA legend John Stockton) they’d easily handle, 82-59. But for me and others scouting Wembanyama, the result would be beside the point.
Prior to tip-off, I had tweeted a video of the noticeably stronger 7’4” prodigy dunking the basketball as if on a Nerf rim attached to a doorway. I immediately received texts full of comments and requests for updates on his performance from NBA scouts and friends who closely follow the draft.
As the game got going, my phone kept buzzing with text messages, including evaluations of what other scouts were seeing.