Steph Curry ruined the game, they say. Or did he influence basketball’s next super-talent?
French big man Victor Wembanyama is perhaps the NBA’s most-hyped No. 1 overall pick prospect since LeBron James in 2003. Jeremy Woo of Sports Illustrated wrote a profile about the Wembamania craze that is growing heading into June’s 2023 NBA Draft.
According to Woo, Wemby was influenced by the Warriors’ dynasty as he was developing as a teenager. Check out a small passage from Woo’s feature:
Wembanyama cites the Warriors of the 2010s as a model for the type of basketball that inspires him: They won, they enjoyed themselves and they did it in style.
“Taking, like, bad or weird shots, it isn’t new for me,” Wembanyama says. “You can ask any coaches I’ve played for. They’ve seen me do crazy stuff. Sometimes they thought I was crazy. Something I’m proud of in my life is that I’ve kept [going] this whole time. And it required a lot of mental strength.”
Curry has done some crazy stuff on the court, but Woo cited a teammate who said Wemby once made five 3-pointers right-handed before making five 3-pointers left-handed in a game.
Wembanyama was 11 years old when Steph and the Dubs won their first title in 2015, so they caught his attention while he was learning to hoop in Paris. Now, Wemby is viewed as a generational talent with athleticism and shooting that we’ve never seen from a player his size.
What’s really wild is that Wembanyama might still be growing. According to a recent report from ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, the 21-year-old is now 7-foot-5 with shoes on.
While most the league is still alive in the race to reach the play-in tournaments, cellar dwellers like the Houston Rockets (13-45), San Antonio Spurs (14-45), the Detroit Pistons (15-44) and Charlotte Hornets (17-43) are in the thick of the Wemby Sweepstakes.