Victor Wembanyama is about to begin his first NBA season as one of the most heralded prospects of all time, and the San Antonio Spurs phenom is saying there are no limits to the roles he can play for them, including point guard if necessary.
“There are really no limitations,” the 19-year-old said. “On a lot of set plays, on a lot plays, it really depends on where you are. But I can be the point guard just like I can be the wing.”
The No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, Wembanyama has received more hype than any rookie since LeBron James entered the league in 2003. Reportedly just shy of 7-foot-4, he is considered very special because of the skills he displays at that height.
Wembanyama played in his native France for Boulogne-Levallois Metropolitans 92 during the 2022-23 season. He appeared in 34 games, averaging 21.6 points, 10.4 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 3.0 blocks per game while shooting 47.0 percent from the field. His shot-making and passing ability combined with his agility and length on defense make him a very unique player.
“I mean it’s incredible to watch,” veteran Spurs teammate Doug McDermott said. “He does some things you can’t really explain. Fans will be surprised by it. He’s so coordinated for how tall he is and just a very unselfish player, can make any play and very comfortable shooting from anywhere.”
It’s the defensive skills that have teammate Jeremy Sochan saying they will be “scary” as a duo with the added benefit of offensive ability.
Wembanyama’s skill set has drawn raves from NBA observers, including TNT analyst Kenny Smith, who said he expects him to become NBA MVP by his fourth year in the league. One NBA executive said he will become a top-10 player even if he does not live up to the hype surrounding his arrival.
There are naysayers, however, with former NBA star Tracy McGrady somewhat dismissing Wembanyama by comparing him to players like Bol Bol and Kristaps Porzingis. But that opinion is in the significant minority.
The young star played in two NBA Summer League games this offseason, but fans can start to see him against better NBA competition when the Spurs open their preseason schedule on Oct. 9 at the Oklahoma City Thunder.
His first regular season game is scheduled for Oct. 25 against the Dallas Mavericks. It will be one of the most highly anticipated debuts in recent memory.
The Spurs were just 22-60 last season and haven’t made the playoffs since the 2018-19 campaign. They are no doubt counting on Wembanyama to reverse those fortunes quickly, and it will be fun for fans to watch him contribute in various roles on both ends of the court.