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Batum ignites for Wembanyama: “His potential is perhaps greater than that of Embiid”

Basketball prodigy Victor Wembanyama will have “a very big role” in the French team at the Paris Olympic Games, Blues captain Nicolas Batum judged on Friday.

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Batum ignites for Wembanyama: “His potential is perhaps greater than that of Embiid”

Basketball prodigy Victor Wembanyama will have “a very big role” in the French team at the Paris Olympic Games, Blues captain Nicolas Batum judged on Friday. Batum faced Wembanyama on Monday in the NBA for a victory for Philadelphia against San Antonio (133-123) with a crazy performance from 76ers pivot Joel Embiid, author of 70 points.

“The match was a good learning experience for Victor, who still scored 33 points. He didn't let himself be defeated, not once did I see him lower his head, back down, give up, it shows his strength of character. He is a class above the rest. What he shows is crazy. His potential is perhaps greater than that of Joel Embiid, who is nevertheless a physical and technical monster,” explained Batum during a press briefing with several French media.

“Individually he can claim the All-Star Game but the collective results will perhaps prevent him from doing so (San Antonio is last in the Western Conference), this is perhaps the only year he will not go,” added the French veteran (35 years old), while the ten starters were revealed on Thursday and that “Wemby” can still dream of being a substitute for the event which will be held on February 18 in Indianapolis.

Batum will lead the French basketball team as captain at the Paris Olympic Games this summer, after winning silver in Tokyo in 2021. “He (Wembanyama) will have a very big role in the group, he merit, he earned it. We talked about that with Victor on Monday, about how I play with Joel Embiid, about how I can find spaces, serve him inside, how I'm going to put that in place with the Blues. We will also talk about it with Vincent (Collet, the coach).”

The Blues could find the United States “Dream Team” at the Olympics, which will probably include Joel Embiid, who hesitated for a long time with the French jersey, he who has three passports (with Cameroon). “Embiid made his choice, we don't talk about it, ever, it's no use, it doesn't change our relationship,” commented Batum, who joined the Philadelphia 76ers from the Los Angeles Clippers at the beginning of November.

Also read: These personalities who annoyed us in 2023: the Embiid weather vane

With 29 wins and 14 defeats, Philadelphia, 3rd in the Eastern Conference, is one of the contenders for the NBA title, and faces defending champion Denver on Saturday. “We have two big, high-level players, one confirmed with Joel (Embiid), another who bursts the screen with Tyrese Maxey, and lots of very good players around. We have a coach who was recently champion (Nick Nurse, with Toronto in 2019), a fan base (our supporters, Editor's note), a room where it is difficult to come and win... We have all the ingredients to make a great season,” added Batum.

“My integration was quite simple, I don't have a complicated game, I don't ask for anything, no system, not this or that place, not a number of shots,” he continued. I try to adapt, to make the machine run well, indicated the winger with 16 NBA seasons. I have been integrated so well that I have no pressure. I don't have to force anything. They don’t expect direct statistics from me but rather the implementation of the game.”

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