It is four weeks from the NBA Draft and the projected No. 1 pick, Victor Wembanyama, is still playing meaningful and competitive basketball over in France. Wembanyama led his French team, Boulogne-Levallois Metropolitans 92, in an elimination Game 3 win over Cholet to advance to the LNB Pro A semifinals where Wembanyama will face his old team, ASVEL, in a best-of-five series.
Wembanyama was impactful, playing 33 minutes in the 81-69 win over Cholet on their home court with Minnesota Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert taking in the playoff action sitting courtside. Wembanyama led his team in points with 19 and added 9 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 blocks. His teammate and former Michigan guard, DeVante’ Jones, added 15 points, while Lahaou Konaté and TaShawn Thomas finished with 14 points each.
The 7-foot-4 do-it-all center had a quiet first half and didn’t attempt a single shot from 3-point range as the Mets 92 took a comfortable 18-point lead to start the third quarter. In the second half, he looked hesitant from behind the arc and only attempted one stepback 3-pointer, which he missed. The midrange game is where he shined and had incredible touch around the rim when the defense would collapse.
Cholet cut it to single digits with seven minutes left in the game but couldn’t claw its way back with Wembanyama and Jones converting on free throws down the stretch.
Wembanyama and his teammate, Bilal Coulibaly, are two of the only draft prospects still a month outside of the NBA Draft on June 22. Coulibaly, a 6-6 shooting guard with a 7-1 wingspan, is starting to come alive in the playoffs and strung together a few good plays in the previous game with a putback dunk and a tough corner 3 with a defender in his face.
The additional games are giving NBA scouts extra time to evaluate the young guard (just 18 years old) with his draft stock rising to the mid-first round.
“There’s a correlation between youth and upside, historically speaking,” one NBA scout told Yahoo Sports in March. “You expect inconsistencies at 19 or 20, but the combination of youth and production is the best-case scenario. Youth, in general, suggests upside.”
The Mets 92 entered the LNB Pro A playoffs with a 23-11 record and as the No. 2 seed in the playoffs. The semifinals begin Sunday against ASVEL.
Wembanyama continues to keep his dreams of winning a Pro A championship alive before his hits the NBA. He’s currently averaging 20 points and 10.5 rebounds in the postseason and will have a tough series against ASVEL.
LNB Pro A playoffs
Who: Boulogne-Levallois Metropolitans 92 vs. ASVEL
Game 1: May 28, 9:15 a.m. ET
Game 2: May 30, 2:30 p.m. ET
Game 3: June 2, noon ET
Game 4: June 4, TBD (if necessary)
Game 5: June 7, TBD (if necessary)
Finals: June 11-20