2023 NBA Draft: Wembanayama vs. Henderson-The Battle For #1


Victor Wembanyama (left) and Sterling “Scoot” Henderson (right) via newscinema.com

Though the NBA regular season has yet to start, NBA fans still have a lot to be excited about as projected top 2 picks Victor Wembanyama and Sterling “Scoot” Henderson faced off in an exhibition on October 4 with Wembanyama’s Metropolitans 92 and Scoot’s G-League Ignite. And this game showed that both of these players’ hype was real as both of them showed immense skill for their age.

Victor Wembanyama During the October 4th Exhibition via Marca.com

Wembanyama is a player straight out of a video game with him standing at around 7 foot 5 with the ability to almost do it all on the court. In the game Wembanyama put up 37 points, four rebounds, five blocks along with seven made threes. This stat line is insane for a player his size and throughout the game, was showing off his great perimeter skills to create his own shot from three and to be a disruptor on the defensive end. His 7 made threes are the immediate area to look at as basketball has never seen a player his size be able to shoot and create his own shot consistently. This combination of size and skill makes his 3 ball one of the most dangerous shots as almost no defender can do much against a 7-foot-5 player hitting step-back threes without fouling. Wembanyama’s ball-handling skills seem to be at least competent as he is able to bring the ball up and initiate an offense which opens the floor a lot more for a team. But even with this unreal set of skills and size, there are some slight worries for the French prospect. One issue is his massive height, which will be hard to put on substantial weight and he may be bullied by big men in the NBA. Additionally, with players as tall as Wembanyama injuries are always a concern and can derail a potentially all-time great career. But for the teams drafting at the top of the draft, they can almost ignore all issues with him as there is almost no other prospect in NBA history as hyped as him, and if he reaches his full potential, he can change a franchise’s trajectory instantly.

Sterling “Scoot” Henderson During The October 4th Exhibition via USA Today The Rookie Wire

With the insane potential of Victor Wembanyama, “Scoot” Henderson has seemingly gone under the radar for most casual NBA fans. “Scoot” as a prospect overall could’ve been a lock for #1 in many other drafts but with Wembanyama that is no longer the case. He put up 28 points, 9 assists, and 5 rebounds in the game. This stat line is still extremely impressive for the 6-2 guard and throughout the game showed his insane athleticism with the ability to get straight to the basket and finish over taller defenders. Henderson has also shown a seemingly improved 3-point shot compared to his last year with the Ignite. Scoot shot 2-3 from 3 for the night and seemed to show more confidence from deep which is a good sign for teams looking to draft him. The only weakness Henderson truly has is the mentioned outside jumper with him shooting 17% from 3 last year. But if he keeps up with his splits from the first game it will be easy to write off that issue entirely. Overall, “Scoot” looks to be a very good prospect and has drawn comparisons to guards like Russell Westbrook and prime Derrick Rose. This comparison just shows how deep this draft is because in no other draft would a player as highly touted as “Scoot” even be considered to go #2. But with the immense potential of Wembanyama, almost no other player would be able to compete with his upside. Even though a team may be upset they got the #2 pick and therefore missing out on Wembanyama they are still getting a fantastic player that can change a franchise the same way Wembanyama can.
This draft overall is one of the deepest the NBA has ever seen with prospects all the way down the draft lottery that can have extremely high upside and the top two picks are a great example of it. “Scoot” and Wembanyama have the potential to be the faces of the league in the future and following their careers will be exciting for all NBA fans to watch.