Facebook Twitter

Will the Utah Jazz now tank? Who is once-in-a-generation prospect Victor Wembenyama?

SHARE Will the Utah Jazz now tank? Who is once-in-a-generation prospect Victor Wembenyama?
Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell dribbles the ball.

Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45) brings the ball up court as the Jazz play the Portland Trail Blazers play an NBA basketball game at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, March 9, 2022.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

With the news Wednesday night from The Athletic indicating that the Utah Jazz and New York Knicks are discussing a Donovan Mitchell trade, it became rather clear that the Jazz are going to be bad next season if in fact a deal gets done.

It may just be a great time for the franchise for that to happen, however.

That’s because the worse the Jazz are next season, the higher the chance is they’ll end up with a top draft pick, and at the very top of the 2023 NBA draft is a player who is expected to be a once-in-a-generation prospect.

That prospect is Victor Wembenyama, a 7-foot-3 18-year-old from France who has been on the NBA radar for years.

Who is Victor Wembenyama?

Wembenyama is primed to continue in the mold of young players such as Evan Mobley of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Chet Holmgren of the Oklahoma City Thunder as a tall, skinny prospect who is skilled on both ends of the floor.

As ESPN’s Jonathan Givony wrote last month, “The 7’3, 18-year-old Wembenyama, who boasts a 7’9 wingspan and 9’7 standing reach, has wowed NBA executives the past three years with his exceptional combination of fluidity, perimeter skill, shot-blocking instincts and feel for the game.”

Where is Victor Wembenyama now?

Born on the outskirts of Paris, Wembenyama began his professional playing career in 2019 as a 15-year-old with Nanterre 92, a club about 25 minutes from his home.

In 2021, he began playing for ASVEL, a club in France that San Antonio Spurs legend and French native Tony Parker is owner and president of.

Earlier this year, as Givony reported in the tweet above, Wembenyama opted out of his contract with ASVEL.

There was some talk that Wembenyama might come to the United States to play for NBA G League Ignite, a developmental team that is becoming an increasingly popular alternative to playing college basketball for top-level prospects in the United States.

Wembenyama, however, signed a two-year deal with Boulogne Metropolitans 92 in France.

The Rudy Gobert connection

Naturally, Wembenyama has been connected to former Utah Jazz All-Star Rudy Gobert because of their shared nationality and similar height (Gobert is 7-foot-1).

A few years ago, a video emerged of the pair working out together with a few others in France.