The San Antonio Spurs knew they were taking a risk when they tanked last season to try and draft French phenom Victor Wembanyama. But that gamble now looks to be paying off, as Wembanyama has been selected to participate in All-Star Weekend’s Skills Challenge.
Wembanyama Exceeds Expectations in Rookie Season
Despite being just 20 years old, Wembanyama has had no issues adapting to the NBA game. He is averaging over 20 points, 8 rebounds and 3 blocks per game, while shooting 50% from the field. His freakish combination of size and skill has allowed him to make an immediate impact for San Antonio.
Wembanyama credited the Spurs coaching staff for his quick development, saying:
I like to be coached and sent to the G League if I play poorly.
Head coach Gregg Popovich’s intense, demanding style has clearly rubbed off on his young star.
All-Star Selection Affirms Decision to Tank
By earning the All-Star nod in just his rookie season, Wembanyama has quickly validated the Spurs’ controversial tanking efforts last season. With their sights set firmly on the #1 pick, San Antonio sat veterans, played end-of-bench guys big minutes, and limped to the worst record in the West.
While the tanking drew criticism from media and fans alike, landing a generational talent like Wembanyama has made that one difficult season worthwhile. As Wembanyama said about the All-Star selection:
It’s a blessing. I’m just trying to represent for my team.
|Victor Wembanyama (1st)
* through Feb 18, 2024
What’s Next for Wembanyama and the Spurs?
Wembanyama still has minutes restrictions in place, but he has grown more consistent despite limited playing time. Over the last 9 games, he has scored 20+ points in 8 contests.
The Spurs hope that reducing his workload now will keep him healthy and allow him to remain efficient. Come playoff time, they plan to unleash him.
There’s nobody on this team that doesn’t want to pass me the ball and there’s nobody I don’t want to pass the ball to.
With Wembanyama as the centerpiece, the Spurs believe they have the talent to make a postseason run this year. And his All-Star weekend debut is likely just the first of many honors to come.
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