A recap of what we learned from the Wembanyama vs. Scoot “matchup”
The pair of exhibitions between the Metropolitans 92 and the G-League Ignite was hyped as the best prospect duel of the 21st century and it did not disappoint. The top two prospects, Victor Wembanyama and Scoot Henderson, in the 2023 NBA Draft class went head-to-head last week in an eye-opening display of skill between a pair of 18-year-olds.
The Ignite came away with the win in their “match up” but Wembanyama was the unquestionable star of the show. The 7’4 French prospect shined with 37 points on seven 3-pointers and five blocks. There has only been one player in NBA history that has accomplished that feat with seven 3’s and five blocks in a game and it took Danny Green three overtimes.
Wembanyama stands a great chance to break that record.
He’s going to break a lot of records.
The fluidity he played with offensively, whether it was on ISO 3-pointers or isolation drives, and disruption he caused on the defensive end exemplified what makes him a generational prospect.
Scoot Henderson No Consolation Prize
Of course, the Ignite won for a reason, that being the ultra talented Henderson. The 6’2 point guard showed off his tight handles and explosiveness to the tune of 28 points and nine assists, while even going right at and getting the better of Wembanyama for much of the first half.
Henderson had a stretch where he took over the game in the second half for the Ignite showing his ability to impact the game with not only his scoring ability but also his elite level point guard play and leadership.
Scoot has been lauded for his incredible maturity and determination for a teenager and has drawn comparisons from scouts to players such as Derrick Rose and Ja Morant.
His improved pull up jumper was on display and it’s clear that he has spent the summer working hard on his deficiencies, improving his consistency as an outside shooter will close the gap between he and Victor.
Unfortunately, that’s all we got to see from Henderson as he was removed from the second matchup after a knee-to-knee collision with Wembanyama in the first quarter.
Victor Shines Again in Second Match up with Ignite
The French prospect made sure to put on another show in Henderson’s absence, knocking down 30-foot 3-pointers, fading away in the corners on triples and mid-range jumpers and blocking shots that no other human could block.
Victor led a 16-point fourth quarter comeback, clinching the game with a steal and pair of free throws in the final 10 seconds. And he scored 36 more points. And he blocked four more shots.
It’s not a stretch to say we’ve never seen anyone quite like Victor.
In addition to the top two prospects, viewers also got a chance to see some former college stars and international prospects return to the floor. Aaron Henry, a former Michigan State standout, showed out in game two for the Metropolitans while Aubrey Dawkins, a former UCF star, shined in both contests for the G-League Ignite.
Hugo Besson, the last pick of the 2022 NBA Draft, also played alongside Wembanyama and proved to be a knockdown perimeter shooter with range in the exhibitions. Off the bench on the other side, Mojave King reintroduced himself to scouts with an impressive display of shotmaking from the outside in game two on Thursday.
Kudos to all involved with putting together this series between these teams. It was good for draft scouts. It was good for fans. It was good for basketball. We know for sure these are the top two prospects in the 2023 draft class. It will be a lot of fun to track their seasons, as the race for the top pick appears to be Victor’s to lose, but Scoot plays a more impactful position in today’s league and could ultimately end up the better pro, particularly if injuries become a factor.
It will be interesting to see how the 2023 NBA draft class shapes, with a race to be the 3rd pick among the NCAA field.