Victor Wembanyama plans to play the rest of the season: ‘I made a commitment to this team’

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This is around the point on the calendar in which the best players on the NBA’s worst teams tend to call it a season. By April, almost everybody has a lingering injury or two that could feasibly keep them out, and with nothing left to play for, teams frequently choose to shut their most important players down. Sometimes it’s out of an abundance of caution. Sometimes it’s to protect their draft position. But bad teams rarely field their entire teams in April.

That is true of the San Antonio Spurs, who have several key players out. Devin Vassell and Jeremy Sochan have already been ruled out for the year, while several other players are listed on the injury report as well. Just don’t expect Victor Wembanyama to join those teammates.

So long as he’s able, he plans to play. “It is just my mentality,” Wembanyama said in an interview with Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News. “I made a commitment to this team. I have a responsibility towards the organization and the team and the fans. So there’s no reason to sit out.”

If there was any concern about Wembanyama’s transition to the NBA, it revolved around his slender frame. Typically, a skinny 7-foot-4 center would raise all kinds of red flags from an injury perspective, but Wembanyama has been quite durable as a rookie. He’s already played in 68 games, and with five to go, he can finish the season at 73. The Spurs are tied with the Hornets at 19 wins apiece, so there is some slight incentive to lose down the stretch in order to maximize their lottery odds, but the difference is minimal, and with Wembanyama in place, the Spurs aren’t quite as desperate for draft position in a weak class as the rest of the field.

The goal for San Antonio at the moment is to develop a winning culture. One obviously existed during its recent dynasty, but this is an entirely new group of players attempting to develop winning habits. When the face of the franchise declares that he will play so long as he is able, that trickles down to the rest of the roster. San Antonio may be out of the running this season, but with Wembanyama leading the way, it’ll be in the thick of next year’s playoff race.

 

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