3 reasons David Robinson, not Tim Duncan, is better Victor Wembanyama rookie comparison

Why David Robinson is the Spurs legend Victor Wembanyama most resembles right now.

Spurs' Victor Wembanyama doing Drake Hotline Bling meme with Tim Duncan and David Robinson


It has been 30 years since San Antonio Spurs Hall of Famer David Robinson scored 71 points in the 1993-1994 season finale. Three decades later, the Spurs again feature a 7-footer who put up some astronomical numbers of his own. Though Victor Wembanyama is naturally linked to Robinson and fellow San Antonio icon Tim Duncan, truth be told, it’s Duncan with whom Wemby is more commonly compared.

Perhaps it’s because Duncan played more recently. Maybe it’s because Duncan led the franchise to championships — an accomplishment many feel Wembanyama will inevitably reach. Maybe it’s their similar rookie outputs in points and rebounds. Heck, their legendary head coach just compared the two men.

“He’s made me understand that he has those Tim Duncan qualities of innate basketball IQ and a fire that he wants to be the best,” Gregg Popovich told ClutchPoints in response to a question about whether the French phenom surpassed whatever expectations the Spurs coach may have held.

But, right now, David Robinson is the better comparison for Victor Wembanyama. There are several reasons.

Victor Wembanyama, David Robinson’s freakish abilities

A 7-footer who can do it all and an absolute nightmare for offensive opponents.

Sound familiar? That’s how folks described “The Admiral” leading up to 1989.

Yes, David Robinson never featured the range that Victor Wembanyama already possesses. But at the time no player that size had moved, and as quickly, as the 7-foot-1 center did. He could score inside but could also hit jumpers. Most noticeably, he could get up and down the court faster than anyone else. His athleticism was a sight to see — often on display during rim-rocking dunks and ferocious blocks.

A quarter of a decade later, a “sight to see” fits another Spurs giant.

Though 7-foot-4, Wembanyama entered the NBA with a game that’s effective around the three-point line. His smooth stroke for a player so long mesmerized. His ability to move with fluidity to different spots on the court impressed and his ability to defend, not only at the rim, but also outside the point marveled.

Impressive stat lines

San Antonio Spurs forward Victor Wembanyama (1) goes up to dunk over New York Knicks center Mitchell Robinson (23) and forward Josh Hart (3) during the first half at Frost Bank Center. Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports
Several of Victor Wembanyama’s accomplishments this past season came because he’d hit numbers that hadn’t been seen since David Robinson.

When the 2o-year-old phenom scored more than 100 points in his first five NBA games, he joined “Big Dave” as the only Spurs rookies to do so.

When Wemby recorded a 30+ point, 10+ rebound, 5+ assist, 7+ block game in late December, he joined Robinson as the only rookies in league history to hit those numbers in a single night.

When Wemby recorded his second NBA triple-double in mid-February, he did so with 10 blocks, becoming the first rookie since Robinson to record the feat with blocks.

For the season, the top pick in last summer’s draft averaged 21.4 points, 10.6 rebounds, 3.6 blocks, and 3.9 assists.

As a rookie, Robinson averaged 24.3 points, 12 rebounds, 3.9 blocks, and 2.0 assists.

Duncan, by comparison, averaged 21.1 points, 11,9 rebounds, 2.5 blocks, and 2.7 assists in his first pro campaign.

The Internet effect

Had the Internet existed when David Robinson burst in the league, he would’ve, as the kids say, “broken it.”

Outside of three-point percentage and assists, his statistics outpaced Victor Wembanyama.

Built like an action figure that stood 7-foot 1 and moved like a gazelle, Robinson was a walking highlight reel.

In that way, Wemby is the social media version of another Spurs giant that preceded him by 30 years.

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