Wemby Watch: Pelicans Victor Wembanyama’s chances fade as Lakers scrape back near .500
The Los Angeles Lakers defeated the New York Knicks on Tuesday to enter the season 24-28. Across the country, the New Orleans Pelicans lost to the Denver Nuggets, falling to 26-26. Since the start of the season 2-10, the Lakers are 22-18 despite injuries to LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Both are healthy now. The Lakers are headed in the right direction. Since starting 18-8, the Pelicans have gone 8-18 due to various injuries. Zion Williamson hasn’t returned yet. They still have plenty of time to fix the ship, but right now they’re headed in the wrong direction.
At one point this season, the Pelicans held the No. 1 spot in the Western Conference while the Lakers languished at the bottom of the standings. It created one of the most interesting subplots of the season: could the Lakers send an already young and competitive Pelicans team the No. 1 and rights to Victor Wembanyama thanks to the 2023 swap rights they gave New Orleans from the Anthony Davis trade debts? At one point it looked plausible.
Now we’ve reached the other end of the spectrum. At the rate at which these teams are moving, there’s a reasonable chance the Pelicans won’t even exercise their right to swap picks. Even if it does, with both teams hovering around .500, neither option looks particularly valuable. Sadly for Wembanyama, he’s almost certainly headed for a run-of-the-mill bad team rather than a direct competitor.
Mets 92 falls (again) to Roanne
Racing the regular season in the LNB Pro A gained some clarity this week as Mets 92 and Wembanyama fell to Roanne for the second time this season. The loss extended Monaco’s lead over second-placed Mets 92 in the standings. However, it wasn’t due to a lack of effort from Wembanyama. After scoring 15 points against Roanne in early December, Wemby doubled those and then some with 31 points, 14 rebounds and five blocks, his eighth double-double of the season and the fifth time he had five or more blocks in a game.
It was a brand-compliant stat line for Wembanyama, but an atypical way in which he got there. Despite completing a respectable 12 of 28 shots overall, he missed nine of his last 10 shots in a sprint to the finish.
Mets 92 and Wembanyama should see a rebound this week, with a matchup against relegated Blois scheduled for Saturday. Mets 92 won the first meeting of October 113-88, although Wemby posted a ho-hum 17-7-6 that day. Blois are second to bottom in the LNB Pro A standings and have lost 10 of their last 11 games, most recently against Fos, who are currently bottom of the league standings. As always, games are free to watch on the NBA app.
Here’s a look at the upcoming Wemby and Mets 92 schedule.
- Saturday, February 4 at 2pm ET: Mets 92 vs. Blois
- Friday, February 10 at 2:30 p.m. ET: Mets 92 vs. Dijon
Mets 92 will sit out the rest of February after their next two games against Blois and Dijon.
Each week we will rank the seven teams most likely to win the coveted #1 spot on lottery night. This ranking takes into account the current record, recent performances, upcoming schedule, and injuries to subjectively rank the NBA’s worst teams.
7. Toronto Raptors: We need to come up with a catchy nickname for the makeover Toronto will endure. Two years ago we got the Tampa Tank, a wasted year the Raptors playing in Florida lost their way to Scottie Barnes. Now out of the Eastern Conference top 10, they face trade rumors involving key players Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby and Gary Trent Jr. At this point, when and where they’re traded feels more like .
6. Chicago Bulls: Don’t look now, but Chicago is only 3.5 games away from #5 on lottery night. If they don’t make the top four now, their pick is Orlando, but the longer the cops maintain their mediocrity, the easier it will be for them to talk themselves into a mini-tank. A bad few months seems like more than fair trade for a realistic shot at Wembanyama.
5. Orlando magic: As of December 6, the Orlando Magic are 15-11. They have a better record than the Lakers, Warriors, Suns, Clippers and Cavaliers during this period. Their 6-20 start will still get them a top pick, but this is a sample sustainable enough to believe Orlando is at least a 500-man team in its current state.
4. Charlotte Hornets: Action Network’s Matt Moore recently reported that the Hornets are looking for a first-round pick in exchange for Mason Plumlee. Welcome to the post-Rudy Gobert world that Danny Ainge pushed us into. Apparently everyone is now worth a first round pick. The 13th man on a lottery team? Worth a pick for the first round. The copier the Nets bought with the extra money they got in exchange for Kyle Korver? Worth a pick for the first round. It won’t be long before an insider says something along the lines of “Atlanta is open to moving its second-round pick in exchange for a first-round pick.” That’s anarchy. Plumlee is a good backup center. He does not guarantee a first round selection. Get the fuck out of here, Charlotte.
3. San Antonio Spurs: We’ve talked a lot about Jeremy Sochan in this area and he earned another mention with a 30-point game against the Suns on Saturday, but the broader context here is that it’s fascinating to see how, of all people, San Antonio allows a rookie plenty of leeway to explore his game. DeJounte Murray only played 322 minutes as a rookie. Derrick White was at 139. Kawhi Leonard was a starter but he hardly shot. Spurs have an incredible development infrastructure, but they usually take time to get it out of their players. That is no longer the case and if Spurs are indeed ready to win again, Sochan will be ready.
2. Detroit piston: There has been a lot of fuss lately about the high price Detroit has set for Bojan Bogdanovic. You could be forgiven for dropping out on the worst team in the Eastern Conference, but if you did, you missed out on some of the best basketball players in Bogdanovic’s career. Luka Doncic scored 53 points against Detroit on Monday and Bogdanovic still almost overtook him on track. He’s been much more than a stopgap shooter this season, and if neither team meets Detroit’s asking price, the Pistons will happily keep him for a play-in push next season.
1. Houston missiles: The Alperen-Sengun mania still persists. He has up to 20.1 points, 10.3 rebounds and 7.0 assists per game since Kevin Porter Jr. was out. The Rockets still have the worst record in the league, but Sengun’s impression of Nikola Jokic makes them arguably the most watchable team on this list.
defeat of the week
It’s the end of an era! Though the San Antonio Spurs have slipped into mediocrity in recent years, they maintained their Tim Duncan-era excellence against a single opponent: the Washington Wizards. The Spurs went unbeaten at home to the Wizards for 8,451 days. Really think about what this number means. Bill Clinton was president the last time the Wizards won in San Antonio. Deni Avdija, who played 33 minutes for Washington on Monday, wasn’t even born yet. We’ve gone through eight standalone Spider-Man films starring three different Peter Parkers without seeing a single Wizards win in San Antonio.
But on Monday the time had finally come. The Spurs fell at home to Washington, 127-106. Times change’. There couldn’t be a more appropriate exclamation mark on San Antonio’s first overall win of the series. No matter how healthy they were, where they were on their schedule, or who they had on their roster, the Spurs always found a way to beat the Wizards at home. San Antonio had to choose not to try and win the Wizards in order to get that win and start their own streak. They are just 8,449 days away from matching San Antonio’s.
games of the weak
Thursday, February 2 – Hornets at Bulls: TNT pulled the last Hornets-Bulls off national TV, but that won’t be a problem this time around as play has always been limited to local audiences and League Pass junkies.
Thursday, February 3 – Hornets at Pistons: If you don’t want to watch the Hornets while they’re fresh, you probably shouldn’t watch them back-to-back either.
Sunday, February 5th – Magic at Hornets: Yes, it’s hornet week. It’s called “Games of the Weak” for a reason, and it doesn’t get much weaker than Charlotte.
https://www.cbssports.com/nba/news/wemby-watch-pelicans-victor-wembanyama-chances-fading-away-as-lakers-claw-back-near-500/ Wemby Watch: Pelicans Victor Wembanyama’s chances fade as Lakers scrape back near .500