Some people don’t think the super-lanky Victor Wembanyama will have the stamina or muscle mass to endure physical toll of an 82-game NBA season for a long career.
I’m not one of those people. Wemby has the tools to be a top-10 player in the league as a rookie.
Thanks to a 7-foot-4 frame with a literal 8-foot wingspan, the French phenom doesn’t even really have to jump to dunk the ball, sky above everyone for rebounds, and can recover defensively with ease. Oh, and Wembanyama also handles the ball like a guard, with effortless 3-point shooting range. Once he raises up, literally no one this side of Chet Holmgren can contest his shot with much consistent efficacy.
As stateside players get acquainted with the international prodigy and beyond-generational talent that is Victor Wembanyama, unprecedented things will inevitably happen. Such as on Friday night, during the San Antonio Spurs’ 120-106 preseason win over the Heat. Finding out firsthand just how bonkers Wemby’s skill set is: Miami big man Thomas Bryant.
Bryant isn’t a scrub, either. He played well in spurts for the Lakers last season, averaging 12 points and about eight boards on over 65% shooting in 21.4 minutes a night. Regardless, take a bow sir. That facial elasticity has the makings of a meme. Until the next guy is blown away by what Wembanyama can do and, I don’t know, collapses to the court in the fetal position out of devastation.
What’s wild is, this is preseason, so it’s not like Gregg Popovich really wants to reveal some of his more exotic offensive sets. Then again, coaching is overrated when you can just roll the ball out to Wemby and let him go to work.
You see how efficient Wemby’s stat line was. He hit 10 of 15 shots from the field, too. That’ll play just fine. While he does need to fine tune his long-range shots (1-for-5 from 3-point range; 29% from deep in his overseas pro career), that should only come with time and NBA experience.
There’s not much to love about the Spurs’ current roster. If you ask me, Popovich has been stuck in an antiquated mindset about the sport. Reluctant to embrace the explosion of 3-point shooting. Struggling to fill out the rotation with decent players. Hardly the dynastic San Antonio squads of yesteryear.
Wembnayama literally changes the entire franchise’s trajectory with his presence, and has the skill set to elevate his teammates on both ends of the court. Bring on the real games! We’ll get a Lone Star State showdown for Wemby’s official NBA debut on October 25 when the Spurs take on Luka Doncic and the Mavs.