What would Wembanyama bring to Blazers next season?
This year in the LNB Pro A league in France, Wembanyama is averaging 21.8 points, 10.3 rebounds, 2.4 assists, and 3.1 blocks on 47/29/84 shooting splits.
He’s still raw at 19 but should be an immediate starter and someone that will positively impact games in the NBA, particularly on the defensive end, where Victor is an excellent shot blocker, rebounder, and help defender.
As mentioned, his skill set would fit in perfectly in Portland. In addition, his length, athleticism, and versatility on defense would help tremendously. The trio of Lillard, Simons, and center Jusuf Nurkic has been troublesome defensively. Lillard and Simons are too undersized together. Nurkic struggled as a rim protector and as a big switching out on the perimeter last season.
The pick-and-roll-heavy NBA exploits defensive weaknesses constantly, and the Blazers have a ton of vulnerabilities. Wembanyama is only one person, but he can cover a ton of ground and should immediately help the Blazers on the defensive end.
Offensively, you can tell he’s already an elite shot creator. He casually shoots one-legged three-point floaters?
He moves and handles the ball well for his size and possesses a virtually unguardable shot with his length.
However, Wembanyama has too tiny of a frame to be a go-to post-up player immediately. He also could be a better 3-point shooter as he’s connected on just 29 percent of his threes this season. These are two areas that Wembanyama will improve upon as he continues to develop.
Wembanyama likely won’t be ready to be relied on as Portland’s go-to scorer this upcoming season, but he doesn’t need to be with Lillard.
It’s easy to see how Wembanyama would play alongside Lillard and Simons in pick-and-roll situations. Wemby could impact pick and rolls in all three aspects – as a roller, a popper, and the ball handler. He’s talented and versatile enough to do almost anything on the court, which would allow Billups to get creative utilizing him on both ends.
With his height and talent, the Portland pick-and-roll would be extremely challenging to guard. Most guards won’t be able to hold their own on a switch, but if you fight through the screen, you risk leaving Lillard or Simons open. It’s an ideal pick-your-poison scenario that would be incredibly difficult to defend.
Trail Blazers’ potential 2023-24 depth chart with Wembanyama
The Blazers’ roster might look like this:
PG: Damian Lillard, Anfernee Simons, Skylar Mays
SG: Anfernee Simons, Shaedon Sharpe, Cam Reddish
SF: Jerami Grant, Matisse Thybulle, Cam Reddish
PF: Victor Wembanyama, Nassir Little, Trendon Watford
C: Jusuf Nurkic, Drew Eubanks, Trendon Watford
This roster seems much more well-balanced with Wembanyama. A two-way big is precisely what Portland is missing, so he would slide in nicely as the starting four.
The Blazers’ weaknesses last season were primarily on the defensive end – their lack of size, rim protection, rebounding, and versatility. Wembanyama would change the team’s identity on day one, drastically improving their weaknesses.