Wembanyama gives Spurs fans glimpse of things to come during French League finale

Boulogne Levallois v Monaco - Betclic Elite
Boulogne Levallois v Monaco - Betclic Elite / Aurelien Meunier/GettyImages

Victor Wembanyama will soon say au revoir to France after his remarkable run to the LNB Pro A Finals ended in a series sweep at the hands of AS Monaco Basket. Though Metropolitans 92 came up short against a tried-and-true team that finished third in EuroLeague competition this season, there is little doubt their teenage superstar gave them a fighting chance each time he stepped on the court in this lopsided matchup.

The 7-foot-5 basketball prodigy may not be satisfied with how this chapter of his career ended, but after dropping 22 points, seven rebounds, and four blocks under the bright lights and pressure of a deciding Game 3, Spurs fans should be ecstatic about his impending arrival in the Alamo City. From his unprecedented physical traits to his transcendent two-way skills, Wemby put his enticing talent on display on Thursday afternoon.

There is a chance Wemby could become the best defender in the NBA, and he showed his versatility on several sequences. The 19-year-old used his preposterous wingspan to pick off a pass inside the paint despite being the last man to get back in transition. He blocked a three-pointer, sent a shot into the front row while rotating from the nail, swatted a pull-up jumper in drop coverage, and stuffed the opposing center at the rim with textbook verticality.

On the other end of the floor, Wembanyama flashed all the attributes that have earned him the title of best prospect since LeBron James. The young Frenchman went from ballhandler to lob finisher in the blink of an eye, nailed a spot-up jumper along the baseline, curled a screen for a silky-smooth shot off the glass, pulled out a sidestep three off the bounce, and sealed his man for a slam via a perfect high-low delivery from TaShawn Thomas.

While his passing chops are still a work in progress, Wembanyama notched a couple of eye-opening assists against Monaco. The first dime came in semi-transition, where the gifted big man connected with a cutter. The recognition to pass into open space and lead his teammate to the hoop bodes well for his long-term outlook, and the body control to avoid a charge as he ran at full speed is what made his second dish such a special playmaking moment.

Getting to the free throw line might be his most translatable offensive skill as he enters the next level. Wemby drew the most fouls in the LNB Pro A this season, and he tacked on another seven to his total on Thursday, going 9-of-9 across his numerous trips to the charity stripe. Regardless of what his rail-thin frame might suggest, Victor embraces contact and welcomes physicality. Those qualities should only help him moving forward as officials are more keen on blowing their whistles in the NBA.

The San Antonio Spurs are less than one week from making Wembanyama the first overall pick of the 2023 NBA Draft, and their fans have lofty expectations for the Parisian phemom. He is unequipped to carry their rebuilding roster to immediate championship contention, but there is no doubt he will alter the trajectory of the Silver and Black with his on and off-court appeal. The wait is almost over, and the next dominant era of this once-proud franchise is knocking on the door.