The Victor Wembanyama Assessment

Hailed as the most exciting draft pick since LeBron James in 2003, it is fair to say there were great expectations of Victor Wembanyama when the Frenchman became the second European to be the first pick of the draft. The San Antonio Spurs were euphoric, they potentially had an all-timer in their ranks. This is a player, who aged 19, was selected to the French All-Pro A First Team and named Best Defender, Best Scorer, Best Young Player and Best Blocker all in the same season. He finished the season averaging 21.6 points, 10.4 rebounds and 3.1 blocks per game, leading the Pro A in each of those categories. He’s 7ft4, making him the tallest active NBA player, and he’s quickly becoming a franchise player. Even his Summer League games were played in front of a sell-out crowd.

So how has this highly touted, giant of a man, fared in the NBA thus far? Let’s delve into it.

Now, first things first, it must be noted that the Spurs are dead last in the Western Conference. Eight wins from 44 and five games behind the Trail Blazers in 14th. But, it must also be resoundingly stated that this is not down to Wembanyama. The Spurs are just *really* bad.

The Frenchman has made a fast start to life in the NBA. On a slightly limited 28.5 minutes per game, Wembanyama is averaging a double-double. He averages 20.4 PPG, 10.1 RPG as well as 2.9 APG. He also leads the league in blocks with a massive 3.2 blocks per game. He is shooting a fair 47% field goal percentage and has already recorded his first triple-double in the league. The rookie phenomenon had 16 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists in a victory over the Detroit Pistons. Wemby played just 21:02, the second-fewest minutes in a triple-double performance in the shot clock era.

He carries the Spurs and performs far more duties than he would have to in another team. He has the offensive and defensive burden. When you’re that hyped, I suppose you have to do it all. But it’s tough for him.

Top Three Wemby Plays

One-Legged Logo Three-Pointer: Memphis Grizzlies 106-98 San Antonio Spurs – January 3rd

Retrieving the ball around the Memphis logo, Wemby pulled up with a one-legged three-pointer and drained it. How does one even stop that?

Insane Block on Giannis: Milwaukee Bucks 125-121 San Antonio Spurs – January 5th

With twenty seconds left in the game and three points in it, Giannis thought he could end it. Enter Wemby. With a monster block on the Greek Freak, the Spurs had the chance to go down the other way and try and grab the victory (they didn’t…).

The Self-Alley-oop: Milwaukee Bucks 125-121 San Antonio Spurs – January 5th

Proving how much Wemby has to do himself, he even assists his own points. This was simply ridiculous. He stepped past Giannis, threw it off the backboard and dunked it in himself. The mobility he has is incredible, it’s easy to forget he’s 7ft4!

Will Wemby win ROTY?

Wembanyama has a strong chance but the current favourite is Oklahoma City Thunder’s Chet Holmgren. Chet was drafted in 2022 but due to an injury that kept him out the entire year, this is actually his rookie season. Holmgren, also a centre, averages 17.1 PPG and 7.3 RPG and his OKC team leads the Western Conference.

When the pair faced off last night, it got firey. Holmgren scored a three, then Wemby went down and dunked on Chet, staring him down after. In total, Chet scored 17 whilst Wemby dropped 24, but OKC blew out the Spurs with a resounding 140-114 win.

It is not entirely implausible that Wembanyama will win ROTY, he will certainly be in the running. Regardless, he has been playing incredibly.

(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

The Verdict

Wembanyama is going to be a Hall of Famer. There is close to no doubt. He’s already improving at an alarming rate. Over the last ten games, which includes games against the Celtics (x2), the 76ers and the Bucks, Wembanyama has averaged 24.4 PPG as well as 3.1 blocks per game. A provisional number two draft pick for the Spurs could see them add some needed support for Wemby next year when he will no doubt continue to thrive and hopefully play in a more competitive Spurs side.

So far, félicitations Wemby!

Follow all the latest NBA and Victor Wembanyama updates this season on the 365Scores website!

By Nicky Helfgott / @NickyH3lfgott on Twitter (X)

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