Every NBA superstar has their “welcome to the NBA” moment, and that came last night for the Spurs’ Victor Wembenyama, who had 38 points and 10 rebounds in a convincing road win against the Suns. This came after he made crucial plays in the fourth quarter of their previous game, also a road win against the Suns. In his first five games, he is already averaging over 20 PPG and looks promising defensively.
This gives us every reason in the world to be excited about the potential of Victor Wembenyama. Coming into the draft, some said he was the best prospect since LeBron James, and as a 7’3 19 year old with NBA guard skills, there are reasons to think so. His offense and defense could both be top five within just a couple of years, so let’s talk about it.
What Victor Could Be
The potential of Victor Wembenyama is extremely insane, and we need to discuss it. At just 19 years old, it is already obvious that he has gifts most players at his size don’t have. As a 7’3 player, he can handle the ball better than a lot of guards and also shoot the three.
These are skills that give him potential as not just a stretch big, but someone who is featured in NBA offenses. This archetype of player has been seen before, but not with the star talent like Wembenyama. Guys like Kristaps Porzingis and Bol Bol are also very tall with shooting skills, but Porzingis’s health and inconsistency has prevented him from being a superstar, and Bol’s lack of ability to translate to the NBA game has prevented him from seeing the floor much.
Wembenyama has a build that was similar to Rudy Gobert when he entered the league, meaning he could have the durability to stay on the court a lot more than his counterparts. This is something that is often cited as a major issue for tall players. If he stays healthy, an offensive comparison could be a taller version of Kevin Durant, who is also able to get blocks with ease.
He is not the shooter Durant is, but being that tall means he can shoot over everyone in the league and get easy paint buckets. This would make him one of the most dominant players on both ends for at least the next decade.
What This Means for San Antonio
For San Antonio, Wembenyama being this good is yet another blessing for a franchise that had Tim Duncan for twenty years and David Robinson before that. He follows a line of great bigs in San Antonio, and coach Gregg Poppovich should be able to give him a lot of wisdom over the next few years before his retirement.
This is also a nice supplement to a decent core of players in San Antonio, where guys like Keldon Johnson, Devin Vassell, and Jeremy Sochan are also blossoming as young players. These guys can find their games to complement Victor, and play around him for the foreseeable future.
Having a cheap young superstar also means they will have cap space to spend in free agency, and while San Antonio isn’t always a destination, they could definitely sell free agents on being able to win. It is also just great for the NBA to have a talent like Victor to market, and he seems like a nice young man as well. I’m excited for what the future holds with Victor Wembenyama.