The San Antonio Spurs begin the 2023-24 preseason with a contest in Oklahoma City against the Thunder. This will, most notably, be the debut of Victor Wembanyama in silver and black. Wembanyama is the rookie phenom out of France who was the No. 1 pick of the 2023 NBA Draft.
The Spurs are coming off of a season in which they went 22-60. That record was tied with the Houston Rockets for the second worst in the league. Meanwhile, the Thunder finished last season with a record of 40-42.
Victor Wembanyama Goes Against Rookie of the Year Competitor
Wembanyama won’t be the only big name rookie making his NBA debut. The Thunder’s Chet Holmgren will also be hitting the court for the first time. Holmgren was the second overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, however he missed all of last year due to a foot injury.
According to oddsmakers, Wembanyama and Holmgren along with Portland Trail Blazers rookie Scoot Henderson are the favorites to win the 2023-24 NBA Rookie of the Year award. Henderson’s chances of winning the award improved greatly after the Blazers traded Damian Lillard to the Milwaukee Bucks. That said, Wembanyama remains the overall favorite.
San Antonio Spurs Injury Update
Unfortunately, San Antonio won’t be 100 percent healthy heading into preseason action. Keldon Johnson and Jeremy Sochan will both miss the game against the Thunder. Thankfully, neither player appears to be dealing with a serious injury. In fact, both Johnson and Sochan are dealing with what is being described as “general soreness.”
Khem Birch, who didn’t play for the Spurs last season after being acquired in the Jakob Poeltl trade with the Toronto Raptors due to a knee injury, is reportedly available for tonight’s affair.
San Antonio Spurs Starting Lineup
Without Keldon Johnson and Jeremy Sochan, the starting lineup will be less clear. It’s safe to say Victor Wembanyama will start at power forward, Zach Collins will start at center and Tre Jones will start at point guard. Devin Vassell will also start.
Who will the fifth starter be for the Spurs? Malaki Branham is probably the most likely player to fill that role.
Betting Guide: Spurs at Thunder
The Thunder are favored by 4.5 points. Considering that the Thunder will be at home and the Spurs are without two of their most important players, expect Oklahoma City to come out on top and win by five or more points.