This Victor Wembanyama guy is going to be pretty good. Wembanyama took the floor in his first NBA game on Wednesday night, as the French superstar and No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft took the floor in San Antonio alongside the rest of the Spurs. While he was by no means perfect, Wembanyama flashed a number of the skills that made him the best prospect coming into the league since LeBron James in a 126-119 loss.
The big problem revolved around fouls, as Wembanyama was limited to only 23 minutes of action on the evening due to foul trouble — he ended up playing the final 7:12 of the game without picking up a sixth foul, which was a silver lining for Gregg Popovich. But when he did play, Wembanyama managed to impact the game on both ends of the floor from the jump. On the very first Mavericks possession of the night, Wembanyama took one step from his spot defending Derrick Jones Jr. in the corner and rejected a Kyrie Irving free throw line jumper. His length, athleticism, and ability to alter shots from all over the floor is something we just have not seen before.
Every glimpse of how he’s able to put the ball on the deck and every time he was able to create his own shot was, again, like watching a create-a-player on a video game. Getting used to the physicality of an NBA game will take some getting used to, but his jumper looked excellent and he was still able to overwhelm smaller defenders. He’s already one of the best lob threats we’ve seen, and at the 1:01 mark of the video at the top of this post, we saw how he’s just impossible to deal with when he’s in position to catch a pass over the top of someone.
On the night, Wembanyama ended with 15 points, five rebounds, two assists, two steals, a block, and five turnovers. He’ll have to clean that up, of course, but despite the loss, there were a whole lot of flashes that reminded fans that San Antonio is going to be must watch this year.