Honestly, we all know why 17,500 fans braved the 106-degree Las Vegas heat to pack into the Thomas and Mack Center for just the 5th sellout in NBA Summer League history. The same reason over 500 media members were credentialed for a scrimmage between two teams that won a combined 49 games last season. One name, six syllables, 7 feet 4 inches of pure potential… Victor Wembanyama.
Victor Wembanyama’s Performance
The first (unofficial) basket of his (American) career came off of a quick post feed from Spurs guard Malaki Branham, Giving scouts and fans alike a true estimation of how helpless under-sized bigs or guards caught in a mismatch will look trying to contain his eight-foot wingspan and jumping higher to catch the lob than he did to effortlessly drop in the and-one basket.
However, that was after missing his first three attempts, including a dunk. He was clearly out of rhythm. Often he looked more comfortable dribbling on the perimeter than he did the few times he attempted to post up. His rotations on defense were much smoother than on offense. His assists wowed fans as he strung together no-look passes and guard-like crossovers between the legs of his 223cm frame, feeding forward Dominick Barlow on a backside cut. Even through his early offensive struggles he repeatedly found a way to impact the game on the defensive end, covering all 94 feet with ease.
By The Numbers
A final tally of nine points, eight rebounds, and five blocks in 27 minutes; going 2-for-13 from the field scoring 4-of-4 from the free throw line; a subtle outing of a not-so-subtle player. Showing an understandable amount of rust on more than a few possessions while also finding fluidity on others. The easier looks he missed, will eventually fall. The three-point shooting was a bit of a concern, only making one of six attempts which was a few too many. Three turnovers equaling a quiet three assists, at times his passes seemed ahead of schedule.
His ability to distribute both from the perimeter and on the drive under direst will undoubtedly lead to more. Continuing to build relationships with teammates and more importantly rest will fix those adjustments as they are undoubtedly the after-effects of the recent whirlwind whipping him across a new country, between New York, San Antonio, Portland, and Las Vegas.
In that time the 19-year-old has had to keep his eyes on a few numbers of his own. He is officially inking a $55 million deal which will pay him upwards of $12 million dollars over four years in San Antonio. A quick visit to Portland to maintain his relationship with Nike, likely re-negotiating a pre-existing deal that industry experts have estimated could be worth well over $100 million to sponsor his size 20.5 shoes.
Victor Wembanyama Back To San Antonio
Back to San Antonio for a quick training camp before flying another 1,300 miles with the team to Las Vegas. Logging 27 minutes in his first action in the 19 days since the media typhoon that is Victor Wembanyama made landfall.
Wembanyama self admittedly had some struggles in his debut. “I was just running around out there” although seeing him move almost feels like an optical illusion in its own right. He could easily jog his way to a triple-double. and on a night where he gets particularly active on the defensive end, sprint his way into history.
It is only a matter of time before Victor Wembanyama achieves just the fifth quadruple-double in NBA history.
We can only hope that another former San Antonio Spur will be in attendance, as he often is.
David Robinson is currently the last NBA player to register a quadruple-double tallying 34 points, 10 assists, 10 rebounds, and 10 blocks against the Detroit Pistons in the Alamodome, on February 17th, 1994.
Five years before Victor Wembanyama was born.
“The Admiral” was around quite a bit last season, announcing the NBA single-game attendance record set at the Spur’s 50th-anniversary celebration last season. I’m sure he’ll be in his usual courtside seats to check out “The Alien”