After winning the NBA draft lottery, it's a foregone conclusion that the San Antonio Spurs will select 7-foot-5 big man Victor Wembanyama first overall. He has been touted as a potential savior for the Spurs, who haven't made the playoffs for a franchise-record four straight seasons. However, he could also be the savior of French basketball. Wembanyama could be the latest in a line of international stars like Hall of Famers Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili.
They, of course, spent several summers playing for the Argentinian and French national teams, and Wembanyama will soon follow in their footsteps. His presence on the French national team could spell trouble for Team USA, which won the gold medal in the 2020 Olympics, with Wembanyama even going as far as to say that "my goal is to beat Team USA in the final".
Victor Wembanyama has his sights set on toppling Team USA
While Team USA has historically dominated in the Olympics, that could soon change. After all, Wembanyama has the makings of a superstar and will be joined in the frontcourt by three-time All-Star Rudy Gobert and, potentially, MVP Joel Embiid. Playing alongside either of them would give France their own version of the Twin Towers, a la Tim Duncan and David Robinson. That would allow them to shut down the paint, dominate on the glass, and score effectively against any team.
If that weren't enough, they also have five other current or former NBA players on their team, including Evan Fournier, Nic Batum, and former Spur Nando De Colo. Wembanyama is significantly younger than each of them, however, and could be the focal point of the team for years to come.
Meanwhile, Team USA has seen several of its greatest players retire from the team in recent years, and they don't have nearly as deep of a bench to draw from as they once did. In fact, three of the NBA's best players, Nikola Jokic, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Embiid, aren't American-born, proving basketball has become a global sport. For the Spurs' sake, Wembanyama will hopefully soon join them at the top of the NBA's heirarchy, but that could doom Team USA in 2024 if he has his way.
Wembanyama could become the centerpiece of both the Spurs and the next generation of French basketball. With the 2024 Olympics a year away, he already has his sights set on dethroning Team USA.