Report: Spurs impressed by Victor Wembanyama’s intense focus and determination this offseason

Jesse Cinquini
3 Min Read
Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

A report from The Athletic’s Shams Charania implies that the San Antonio Spurs are delighted by star big man Victor Wembanyama’s resolve and focus thus far in their offseason.

Earlier this month, Wembanyama was named the 2023-24 NBA Rookie of the Year after an incredibly impressive rookie campaign. Chet Holmgren of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Brandon Miller of the Charlotte Hornets were also finalists to win the award.

Across 71 games played with the Spurs during the 2023-24 regular season, the 7-foot-4 center averaged 21.4 points, 10.6 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 1.2 steals and a league-high 3.6 blocks per contest on 46.5 percent accuracy from the floor and 32.5 percent from 3-point range.

Wembanyama’s rookie season from a defensive standpoint was historic in the sense that he became just the second rookie in league history to rank tops in the NBA in blocks per game. Manute Bol — who averaged an unbelievable 5.0 blocks per game in his inaugural NBA season back in the 1985-86 campaign — is the lone other player to accomplish such a feat.

The 20-year-old’s penchant for sending back shots helped him finish second in the league’s Defensive Player of the Year award voting behind Minnesota Timberwolves big man Rudy Gobert, who won the award for the fourth time in his pro career. That makes Gobert tied with Ben Wallace and Dikembe Mutombo for the most of any single player in NBA history.

But Wembanyama’s maiden NBA season was historic in more ways than one. He also became just the fourth rookie since the NBA and ABA merged to average at least 20 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks per contest. His name is in some esteemed company, as Shaquille O’Neal, David Robinson and Alonzo Mourning are the other players who have put up those numbers in their first seasons in the pros, all of whom have been inducted into the Hall of Fame in Massachusetts.

The idea that Wembanyama is seemingly highly motivated to improve upon what was an unforgettable rookie season when the 2024-25 regular season rolls around should terrify the other 29 teams in the NBA.

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Jesse is an aspiring sports journalist that has previously worked as a staff writer at SB Nation’s CelticsBlog and The Knicks Wall.