Barring any change of heart or bizarre decision-making from the San Antonio Spurs, Victor Wembanyama is going to be a Spur come June.
The Spurs won the no. 1 pick in the 2023 NBA Draft lottery and the right to pick Wembanyama, and all signs point that they’ll do just that. After all, there’s no way that they’ll pass on a generational talent like Wemby–whom LeBron James himself called an “alien” because of his combination of size, skills and mobility never seen before from a guy that stands at 7-foot-4.
The moment the Spurs won the No. 1 overall pick and a chance to draft Victor Wembanyama.
(via @Bulls_Jay) pic.twitter.com/CzQhfo7JpC
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) May 17, 2023
With that said, as early as now, there’s already massive excitement surrounding Wembanyama’s San Antonio arrival and his rookie season with the Spurs. And while everyone else is thinking what could the French prospect achieve in his first year in the NBA, we take a look at all the possibilities as well and make five bold predictions for Wembanyama’s first year under Gregg Popovich.
5. Victor Wembanyama tops NBA jersey sales, over 3 million views in NBA debut
Wembanyama is a gold mine for the NBA. With LeBron James and Stephen Curry in the late stages of their careers, the league really needs someone who could be the face of the next generation. Sure enough, Wemby couldn’t come at a better time.
There’s a reason Wembanyama is being marketed as the most-hyped prospect since LeBron. He definitely has the skills to back up that hype, and so the league will surely look to capitalize on that popularity as well. That being said, it’s easy to see Wembanyama’s jerseys flying off the shelves in 2023-24 and become one of the best-selling gears during the season.
In terms of viewership, when Zion Williamson made his debut for the New Orleans Pelicans, the audience at ESPN peaked at 3 million, per Forbes. Wembanyama can easily surpass that with all the attention he’s getting.
4. Wemby wins Rookie of the Year … duh
The 19-year-old French kid is the consensus no. 1 pick of the 2023 NBA Draft, and no one even comes close to him (with all due respect to Scoot Henderson, Brandon Miller, the Thompson twins and other NBA prospects). With that being said, Wemby should be able to win Rookie of the Year.
Victor couldn’t wish for a better situation as well. Not only will he be able to become the no. 1 option when he joins the Spurs, but he’ll also be under Popovich who can definitely utilize him to the best of his abilities. Had the Detroit Pistons or Houston Rockets gotten the no. 1 pick, it’s hard to see Wembanyama becoming the Alpha dog immediately.
Sure the Spurs have Keldon Johnson and Jeremy Sochan looking for a bigger year, but it would be foolish for the team not to immediately build around Wembanyama and have him takeover. Being in San Antonio puts the France international in a great position to make his impact felt and dominate.
Victor Wembanyama’s reaction to the Spurs getting the 1st pick pic.twitter.com/zfvbfVdhj3
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) May 17, 2023
3. Victor averages a double-double
Speaking of winning Rookie of the Year as the Spurs’ no. 1 option, Victor Wembanyama should also be able to average a double-double in points and rebounds in his rookie year. While some will have doubts whether Wembanyama can really do it considering that he has to adjust to the pace and intensity of the NBA, it shouldn’t be forgotten that this is a kid who has been playing in the pros in Europe.
Luka Doncic didn’t have a hard time adjusting to the NBA when he arrived back in 2018, and that should be the case for Wembanyama as well.
It remains to be seen how Wembanyama will fare against bigger and stronger big men in the NBA. But hey, everyone knows that being a bruiser is not his style of play. Given his length and mobility that is just perfect for the NBA, though, Wembanyama should be able to be a consistent double-double threat.
While it’s hard to know if he can be a 20-point scorer right from the get-go, he definitely has the potential to be one.
2. Sorry Manute, Wemby’s taking the rookie blocks record
One of Wembanyama’s traits that really stands out the most is his defensive instinct. He already has the tools to be a game-changing defensive presence, and it’s even made more lethal with his ability to time shots and send them away.
With the Metropolitans 92 in the French pro league, Wembanyama averaged 3.1 blocks per game. Wemby can replicate that success in the NBA or even improve from it as he works his game at the highest level of the sport.
Manute Bol owns the NBA rookie record for most blocks with 397 in 80 games or an average of 5.0 rejections per outing. While it’ll be difficult to break, Wembanyama is certainly capable of doing it.
1. All-Star, All-NBA Team for Victor Wembanyama?
Considering the hype surrounding him and all the attention he’s getting, Victor Wembanyama won’t have problems getting fan votes for the All-Star Game. Furthermore, amid expectations that he’s going to be the no. 1 option for the Spurs, it’s not far-fetched that he follows the footsteps of Tim Duncan to be an All-Star and All-NBA Team member in his rookie season.
Wembanyama is in the perfect situation where he can make history in his rookie year. He could have the stats while being part of a winning group, and since plenty of eyes will be on him, it could play in favor of his All-Star and All-NBA Team bid.
Of course it won’t be easy, but it’s possible. Luka and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander made the All-Star and All-NBA Team in 2022-23 despite their teams failing to make the postseason. If Wembanyama can show that he can impact winning for the Spurs, he could content for those awards and recognitions as well.
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