Wait a minute? What are we saying?? Victor Wembanyama could be a Net!?! Don’t be silly, you say! Nets have played only two games and they have plenty of issues, as the game vs. the Pelicans proved! Ben Simmons is still getting acclimated. Joe Harris is coming off ankle surgery. Same with Curry. Don’t we have enough to worry about? So why worry about Wemby?
Well, because it’s fun and the core of fandom is irrational exuberance (credit to Alan Greenspan via Irina Pavlova.) Also, the 18-year-old is that good.
So here’s the situation. The worst team so far in the NBA is the Philadelphia 76ers who are 0-3. The Nets got a hold of the Sixers first round pick in the James Harden trade back on February 10. Under the original terms of the deal, the Nets had the right to use the pick in either the 2022 Draft or the 2023 Draft. Sean Marks chose wisely and got the 2023 pick. It’s a better draft overall. So Brooklyn wound up with two firsts in 2023, their own and the 76ers. Then the Nets chose wisely again, it appears, in sending the worse of their two firsts to Utah for Royce O’Neale, using the trade exception they also generated in the Harden trade to facilitate it.
So, as we wrote in September, here’s the situation now...
Utah gets the worse of the Nets and 76ers picks. The Rockets also have the right to swap picks with the Nets, but unless there’s a complete collapse in Brooklyn, paired with a surprise showing in Houston, that swap will be “extinguished” (as was the 2021 swap.) The Nets cannot trade the better of the two picks because of the Stepien Rule since their unprotected 2024 first is owed to the Rockets.
Seemed like a nice situation, but nothing extraordinary. Then, Philly started off badly, going 0-3 and now, there’s word that Joel Embiid is suffering with plantar faschiitis in his foot, a condition that does not go away easily. He’s also been feeling testy, avoiding the media post-game after the 76ers two most recent losses.
So, here, compliments of Tanathon, is the first mock draft of the new season...
Suitable for framing or posting on the fridge. Of course, of course, we don’t believe that will be the situation come the Draft Lottery in May. We’re not THAT that much of fanboys But if the 76ers start to resemble last season’s Team Collapse, aka the Brooklyn Nets, there’s always a (slim) possibility they could land in the lottery and then we will all be studying the aerodynamics of ping pong balls.
Wembanyama IS a generational talent. Everyone is raving about him.
At 7’4” in sneakers with an 8’ wingspan, he is undeniably unique, a player whose game is somewhere between Kevin Durant and Rudy Gobert. And it appears he likes the Nets. Check out his likes on Instagram...
Victor Wembanyama only follows two NBA teams on Instagram, the Brooklyn Nets and the New York Knicks— Broadway Joe (@Joe_Martin13) October 23, 2022
(If you don’t believe me go check for yourself) pic.twitter.com/DgrhY2kmBj
So, the Next Big Thing in basketball wants to play in New York City. No surprise. Wembanyama has a sense of who he is, what he wants. It is a long, long, long time from now to the lottery but in meantime, it’s a wise fan who watches both the Nets and 76ers.
As Tom Ziller of Good Morning Basketball wrote Monday...
The knives are out in Philadelphia already, with fans wondering if Rivers (hired before current front office chief Daryl Morey) will survive a slow start and with Rivers confirming that Embiid’s short stints on the court are due to conditioning. Morey’s bench simply hasn’t worked and the team needs to figure out how a Harden-Tyrese Maxey backcourt is going to survive defensively. If Devin Vassell and Tre Jones are lighting them up … what’s the top of the East going to do?
Philly plays Monday night vs. Indiana at home, then head to Toronto for games Wednesday and Friday. No, we do not plan a “Wemby Watch” ... yet.