We’re one day away from the 2023 NBA Draft, and while there’s plenty of intrigue about where many players will land, there’s no question that French phenom Victor Wembanyama will be the first player taken off the board with the No. 1 overall pick. The San Antonio Spurs landed the No. 1 pick during the draft lottery back in May, and all signs point to them using it on the 7-foot-4 talent that has received hype unlike any prospect we’ve seen since LeBron James.
While we’ll have to wait until October to see him make his NBA debut, Wembanyama confirmed that he will be playing during Summer League in July. It’s unclear if he’ll play in the Sacramento Summer League, which is slated to begin during the first week of July, or if he’ll wait for the Las Vegas Summer League later in July which receives far more attention as the entire league convenes in Sin City to take in the newly drafted talent.
Despite the Las Vegas Summer League drawing more attention, league commissioner Adam Silver said in early June that the NBA doesn’t have a preference over where he makes his summer league debut.
“What’s made the summer leagues so valuable are really the media rights more than the individuals who buy tickets there, because it’s a very affordable experience,” Silver said. “So, the answer is, I want Victor to get playing court experience and I think the team — assuming it’s San Antonio — should make decisions completely independent of any commercial implications from where he debuts.”
If Wembanyama were to make his debut at the Sacramento Summer League, he would become the first No. 1 overall pick since Markelle Fultz in 2017 to not debut at the Las Vegas Summer League. And while the French big man did say he plans on playing in Summer League, it’s unclear if he’ll compete in both leagues, and for how many games. All of these are questions that the Spurs will have to answer after they select Wembanyama with the No. 1 pick on Thursday.
Either way, Wembanyama playing in Summer League may be the first time many U.S. fans will see him play. It will also undoubtedly garner an unprecedented amount of attention as everyone tries to watch the European superstar suit up for an NBA team for the first time.