Wembanyama’s Great Performance
against the Memphis Grizzlies

Last year was a bad year for the San Antonio Spurs. The team had the second-worst record in the league and was at the bottom in the Western Conference. The first team the Spurs had to face in 2024 was the Memphis Grizzlies, who sat at 13th at the time of the match.

The San Antonio Spurs went against the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday, January 2, 2024. It was the last match that Victor Wembanyama participated in as a teenager. Even though he is no longer the favorite for the NBA Rookie of the Year title, Wembanyama still managed to showcase notable moments including when he made a one-legged three-pointer.

Despite the high risk, the Tuesday game was not the first time Wembanyama tried to pull off a fancy move as last season, he also did a one-legged three when he was playing in France. Despite the three-pointer’s success, the coaching staff’s focus for the rookie remains for him to increase his conversion rates and refine his shot selection.

It is no wonder, remembering that last year, the Spurs’ had lost many matches. Having the Spurs’ star to have more varied shot selections may yet increase his and the team’s odds on Sportsbet.io.

Late-Game Surprise

Unfortunately, during the match against the Grizzlies, Wembanyama was still nursing an injured ankle, limiting his time in the game. However, he checked back in with only 1:46 left and even managed to score a dunk before he was pulled back out again.

Once the match was over, Wembanyama admitted that his re-entering late game was his own decision made after lobbying to staff and Spurs coach, Gregg Popovich. He explained his reasoning: even if the Spurs were down, he believed they still could turn the table and win the match, and he wanted to have a part in that win.

He added that while he understood and agreed with the staff’s choice to limit his playtime, he also felt restless at the time, hence why he had lobbied to be put back in the game albeit for a short time.

Wembenyama injured his ankle in December 2023. The injury did not seem to affect him much, based on his performance in his last few matches where he managed to score dunks that made it to highlight reels. Despite his performance, Popovich decided to play it safe and stick to doctor’s orders by limiting Wembanyama’s playtime.

Learning Experience

Despite Wembanyama’s exceptional performance in the match against Memphis, being the only Spur to score 20 points, the team still failed to snag the win. According to Sports Illustrated, coach Popovich was displeased with his team for missing seven free throws. Had the Spurs turned those free throws into points, they might have had a chance of winning.

“It’s all about attitude. They played well. You look at fast break points, rebounds, assists, threes, whatever you look at,” Popovich said. “We were poor from the free throw line but other than that they (Memphis) made a few more shots. We can’t have 16 turnovers but you’re there, you’re playing a pretty good game. We had a lot of guys that played that well. We have to be sharper. Make more free throws or make more shots. It was a pretty good defense in a lot of ways.”

It seems that after losing against Memphis, Wembanyana has to learn and adapt, the same way he did after the Spurs’ previous loss against the Boston Celtics. At the time, he admitted that the Celtics’ performance had caught his attention. “Just looking at them, I can feel that compared to past years, they have something extra,” Wembanyana said. “Of course, it’s difficult to play against them and it’s a good challenge, but I think we learned. They made very few mistakes and that’s inspiring.”

Wembenyama injured his ankle in December 2023. The injury did not seem to affect him much,
based on his performance in his last few matches where he managed to score dunks that made
it to highlight reels. Despite his performance, Popovich decided to play it safe and stick to
doctor’s orders by limiting Wembanyama’s playtime.

Learning Experience

Despite Wembanyama’s exceptional performance in the match against Memphis, being the only
Spur to score 20 points, the team still failed to snag the win. According to Sports Illustrated,
coach Popovich was displeased with his team for missing seven free throws. Had the Spurs
turned those free throws into points, they might have had a chance of winning.

“It’s all about attitude. They played well. You look at fast break points, rebounds, assists, threes,
whatever you look at,” Popovich said. “We were poor from the free throw line but other than that
they (Memphis) made a few more shots. We can’t have 16 turnovers but you’re there, you’re
playing a pretty good game. We had a lot of guys that played that well. We have to be sharper.
Make more free throws or make more shots. It was a pretty good defense in a lot of ways.”
It seems that after losing against Memphis, Wembanyana has to learn and adapt, the same way
he did after the Spurs’ previous loss against the Boston Celtics. At the time, he admitted that the
Celtics’ performance had caught his attention.

“Just looking at them, I can feel that compared to past years, they have something extra,”
Wembanyana said. “Of course, it’s difficult to play against them and it’s a good challenge, but I
think we learned. They made very few mistakes and that’s inspiring.”