NBA Draft, NBA Trade Rumors, Oklahoma City Thunder, Orlando Magic, Philadelphia 76ers, San Antonio Spurs

NBA Trade Grades: Diagnosing ESPN’s surprising Victor Wembanyama trade proposals

Paolo Banchero (Mandatory Credit: Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports)

ESPN took on the challenge of formulating trade offers for the best NBA Draft prospect in recent history, Victor Wembanyama. 

Victor Wembanyama is the soon-to-be No. 1 pick in the 2023 NBA Draft. The San Antonio Spurs won the right to select Wembanyama on lottery night, positioning the French sensation as the heir apparent to Tim Duncan in the Spurs’ illustrious line of star big men.

The Spurs should have absolutely no desire to trade Wembanyama. He is the best prospect since LeBron James — a 7-foot-5 center who can create his own shot at all three levels and protect the rim in equal measure. There has never been lower odds of the top pick being dealt.

That said… there’s a difference between being the best prospect since LeBron and actually developing into the best player since LeBron. Wembanyama will battle health concerns tied to his rail-thin frame and he’s not a perfect player, just closer than most. If the right mega-trade offer does come along… should the Spurs consider it?

ESPN pitched a few interesting ideas. Let’s hand out some grades.

Grade: Spurs trade Victor Wembanyama to Orlando Magic

Magic receive: Victor Wembanyama

Spurs receive: Paolo Banchero, Jalen Suggs, No. 6 and No. 11 picks

Normally, the reigning No. 1 pick, a former lottery pick, and two future lottery picks is more than enough to merit interest from a rebuilding team like San Antonio. But Wembanyama is special. He’s far too special for the Spurs to consider this trade in particular.

Banchero was an absolute beast in his first NBA season. He began the year at a torrid scoring pace and he mostly managed to maintain that pace all the way through, despite a few bumps in the road. He averaged 20.0 points and 6.9 rebounds, operated as the centerpiece of Orlando’s offense, and won Rookie of the Year by a landslide.

There is no doubt that Banchero could, eventually, be the driving force behind a contender. He’s 6-foot-10 with the strength to bully mismatches in the post and the agility to create from the perimeter. There aren’t many good defensive answers for Banchero when the jumper’s falling. One has to imagine the jumper will fall more as the years progress.

Jalen Suggs is a bullish defender and intelligent connective playmaker with untapped athletic potential. Not many drafts will have stronger options in the No. 6 and No. 11 spots than this year’s draft. The Spurs are getting a lot here… and it’s still not enough. Wemby is a potential franchise-maker. He will anchor San Antonio on both ends of the floor.

Magic: A+

Spurs: D+

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