Analyzing Victor Wembanyama in a Euroleague Preseason Game

August 5th, 2022

By Alan Lu

7-2 French center, Victor Wembanyama is widely regarded as the favorite to be the top pick of the 2023 draft heading into the season due to his size, vast skill set, and upside.  Therefore, I decided to take the time to watch him play in a September 12th, 2021 Euroleague preseason game for ASVEL Basket against Milano, with thanks to YouTube via Baskeroseno Scouting.  This also provided another opportunity to watch skilled point guard, Matthew Strazel play.  Here are my thoughts on how both Wembanyama and Strazel fared in this game, as well as how they may rate as prospects for the NBA.

Victor Wembanyama is a terrific prospect, and he is a very athletic, skilled center that is currently the front-runner to be the top pick for the 2023 NBA Draft.
Angel Martinez/Euroleague Basketball via Getty Images)

Victor Wembanyama had a good showing for ASVEL Basket in the EuroLeague preseason game.  He is a very athletic, energetic center that made very good hustle plays on both ends of the floor, and he also consistently played well when he was on the floor.

Wembanyama thrived at scoring on hustle plays.  He hustled to get an offensive rebound, and he promptly was able to score on a quick, turnaround put back from the baseline.  He also managed to take on contact to score on a quick backdoor cut to the hoop.  He also sprinted down court to get the ball, and he utilized a swift, Euro-step move to his left to draw free throws on the break.

He also shot the ball well in limited touches on offense.  Wembanyama ran quickly off of a ball screen and managed to make a quick, deep three from way out.  On the other hand, he also took a contested mid-range jumper from the baseline that led to an awkward miss another time.  He also attempted to score on a drive to the hoop, but ended up missing on a wild, reverse layup in traffic.

Also, Wembanyama showcased fairly average playmaking skills in this game.  He is an unselfish player that will make the extra pass to find the open man.  He also can handle the basketball and can get to where he needs to on the floor.  He also set a solid on-ball screen to help his teammate get more space to handle the basketball.  On the downside, early on, he was called for an offensive foul, as he pushed off while appearing to set a moving screen.

Plus, Wembanyama did a very good job of rebounding the basketball.  He was especially active at crashing the glass, and he excelled at hauling in defensive boards.  He also chased down a ball to get a quick offensive board due to possessing a very good motor.  On one play though, he didn’t properly box out his man as he struggled to hold position, and he allowed his man to get an offensive rebound and to score on a tip-in that time.

Adding to that, Wembanyama also played satisfactory defense in this game.  He did a great job of blocking and altering three-point shots due to possessing great length, timing, and positioning.  He also hedged hard out onto the perimeter, and he rotated to jump on a deflected pass to help his team get a steal, and he also used his length to deflect a pass to nearly help his team get another.  Wembanyama also would close out on three-point shooters to force misses.  Sometimes though, he would too aggressive in trying to make plays, as he committed a reach-in foul when rotating to the post, and he also over-rotated another time that led to a scramble and his team to give up a score around the basket another time.  He also would sometimes be late on his rotations or give up too much space to three-point shooters.

In general, Victor Wembanyama played very well for ASVEL Basket, and he is a very athletic, skilled big man that showed off a solid jump shot as well as a solid motor and defensive skills on the court.  He will need to improve his shot selection, but he showed a lot of skills that make him a strong candidate to be the top pick of the 2023 draft.  Recently, he announced that he will play for the Boulogne-Levallois Metropolitans 92 for the upcoming basketball season. He is a very talented prospect, and if he continues to play well, he could end up being a superstar in the NBA someday.

Other Notes:

Matthew Strazel also had some good moments in this game.  He is an agile, skilled playmaker that shot the ball well in limited touches, but he also struggled a bit defensively when he was on the floor.

Strazel excelled as a jump shooter on offense.  He was able to pull up to make a quick, mid-range jumper.  He also made an open deep three-point shot off the catch.  He didn’t take many shots, but he was very efficient at making them in this match.  Also, he showed off satisfactory playmaking skills.  He generally made good passes off the dribble, and he can make an assortment of passes to find open teammates.

Also, he was able to chase down balls to get a pair of defensive rebounds, and he would then quickly bring the ball up the floor.  Defensively, he looked to be about average at best.  Strazel was able to contest a couple of outside shots to force misses, and he can quickly get to his man when he is able to fight through screens.  However, he had some trouble fighting through screens, which led his team to allow opponents to score on outside shots.  Later on, he got beat off the dribble when pressuring an opponent in the backcourt and didn’t get back to try to contest a long three-point shot, which led him to allow the basket towards the end of the third quarter.

In summary, Matthew Strazel had his ups and downs, but he played fairly well on offense.  He will need to get stronger to improve his ability to fight through screens, but his ability to shoot the basketball and run the team at the point could enable him to get looks from NBA teams in the second round of the 2023 draft, or at least to be able to carve out a very good playing career in international basketball.

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