Raptors' president Ujiri travelled to France to watch top draft prospect Wembanyama: report

Jan 12 2023, 8:19 pm

Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri appears to be doing his due diligence when it comes to this year’s NBA draft.

And if he’s got even the slightest chance at drafting Victor Wembanyama, he’s going to go ahead and take it.

Wembanyama, a 19-year-old 7-foot-4 centre from Le Chesnay, France, is widely considered to be arguably the NBA’s top draft prospect since LeBron James entered the league in 2003.

According to a report from the French show First Team on the Brut. web network, Ujiri was in attendance this week to watch Wembanyama in French LNB Pro A action.

Scouts from the Los Angeles Clippers, Cleveland Cavaliers, and San Antonio Spurs general manager Brian Wright were all also reportedly in attendance, per First Team.

Wembanyama put up 15 points and nine rebounds in 31 minutes of action, an 84-83 win over Lyon-Villeurbanne.

The Raptors, at 18-23, sit in 11th place in the Eastern Conference standings and are currently half a game back of the Chicago Bulls for the final play-in spot in the standings.

And with the team looking, well, inconsistent through the first half of the season, many fans have set their sights on Toronto tanking the rest of the season for increased odds of landing Wembanyama in the draft lottery.

“If and when the decision is made that they need to wipe their hands on this season… I don’t think they’re going to be passive about it,” Sportsnet’s Michael Grange said on a recent radio appearance about the decisions ahead for the Raptors’ front office and coaching staff as to how to play out the rest of their season.

Toronto has drafted first overall just once in their history, picking Andrea Bargnani in 2006 out of Italian club Benetton Treviso. Toronto’s only top-five selection since Bargnani came in 2021 when they selected eventual Rookie of the Year winner Scottie Barnes fourth overall from Florida State University.

Adam LaskarisAdam Laskaris

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