The worst-kept secret in all of the sporting world is no longer a secret as the San Antonio Spurs have officially selected Victor Wembanyama with the first pick of the 2023 NBA Draft. According to team sources, at no point after winning the lottery did the Spurs even entertain trade offers for the top pick. The Spurs picking Wembanyma was 100% going to be the outcome from the very second the lottery balls bounced in San Antonio’s favor.
It may sound crazy but this is a moment the Spurs have been planning on for a very long while. As I wrote seven months ago, the Spurs have been preparing for the addition of Wembanyama and getting him to South Texas has dominated internal front office conversations for nearly two years.
Being able to draft Wembanyama was a key motivation behind various roster moves, specifically the trades of Dejounte Murray to the Atlanta Hawks and Derrick White to the Boston Celtics. With Wembanyama in tow, there’s no question that it was all worth it.
What Victor Wembanyama Brings to the Spurs
Last season, the Spurs finished the 2022-23 campaign with a record of 22-60. It was obvious that, while there were some interesting pieces on the roster, the Spurs were missing the centerpiece to build their franchise around. Enter Wembanyama, the most highly coveted franchise centerpiece available in the draft since LeBron James.
Off the court, Wembanyama is praised by everyone who he has come in contact with over the years. He is regarded as an amazing teammate who truly cares about winning. The native of France also has a unyielding work ethic and has improved greatly from year to year.
On the court, Wembanyama is a 7-foot-5 wunderkind. He has deep range on his jumper with great form. His release-point is so high that it’s virtually unblockable. Wembanyama can also handle the ball, create shots from himself and others, and he has exhibited creative and powerful finishes in the paint.
Wembanyama is blessed with an 8-foot wingspan and a standing reach that is reportedly right around 10-feet. Add in his above average athleticism, great hand-eye coordination and his impressive feel for the game and it’s no surprise that his defensive potential is through the roof. He has shown an ability to defend out on the perimeter but his true superpower on defense is blocking or altering every shot attempt in the paint when he’s in the vicinity.
What to Expect from Victor Wembanyama as a Rookie
According to a source, Wembanyama has told the Spurs he doesn’t want to sit out any games. The 19-year-old didn’t miss a game for his French team last season and doesn’t want to miss any games for the Spurs next season. Wembanyama also stated he wants to play for San Antonio’s summer league team in July and for the French national team in August.
When his rookie season officially begins, there’s no question he’ll be in the starting lineup. To begin things, expect Wembanyama to start at power forward to avoid bumping and bruising in the paint as much as possible.
Wembanyama is too talented to be anything but San Antonio’s go-to scorer from the very early stages of his career. You don’t see many 19-year-old rookies averaging 20-plus points per game — but he has a chance to do just that. Defensively, he’ll likely be near the top of the league in block shots right away.
It’s difficult to say at this point how good the Spurs will be next year but if Wembanyama stays healthy, San Antonio will undoubtedly be better than they were last season. If Wembanyama’s transition to the NBA is smooth, the Spurs could even begin entering the playoff picture as soon as his rookie year.