How Spurs’ Victor Wembanyama made NBA history as a rookie

Victor Wembanyama
(Getty Images)

Victor Wembanyama entered the 2023-24 NBA season with the highest expectations of any NBA rookie since LeBron James. With his first season in the books, it’s safe to say Wemby fully lived up to the hype. Not only did he average over 21 points and 10.6 rebounds, he led the league in blocks per game with 3.6.

It didn’t take long for Wembanyama to start making NBA history, as he became the first player to record 1,500+ points, 250+ blocks and 100+ steals in a single season.

Perhaps most impressive is he did so while playing fewer than 30 minutes per game. His per-36 numbers are ridiculous and provide a glimpse of his future production: 26 points, 12.9 rebounds. 4.7 assists, 4.3 blocks and 1.5 steals. While the scoring numbers aren’t otherworldly, his stat line as a whole is very impressive. He has the skillset and well-rounded game to become one of the best players in NBA history.

The Spurs were smart with how they managed Wemby’s time on the court this season. They slowly increased his playing time, but he still didn’t play much compared to other stars around the league. He was able to play in 71 games, and he will be in prime condition entering next season.

Wembanyama showed enough as a rookie that every team in the NBA should be terrified for what’s to come. Given what he accomplished in limited playing time, it will be nearly impossible to stop him once he reaches his prime in a few years.

On the defensive end, he does have a lot to learn despite leading the league in blocks per game. A prime example of this was Joel Embiid scoring 70 points on Wembanyama. The size difference between Embiid and Wemby was very noticeable, and Embiid took advantage of that. As Wemby bulks up and continues to develop, he’ll only be more impactful as a defender.

Regardless, Wembanyama has plenty of time to develop on both ends. It’s hard to imagine a ceiling for Wembanyama if he can stay healthy. We haven’t seen anyone like Wemby, so this is likely the first of many historic seasons for the 20-year-old.


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