Wembanyama’s first Spurs season leaves fans hopeful

Victor Wembanyama celebrates in his Spurs jersey.Victor Wembanyama celebrates after his last rookie game. Photo: Ronald Cortes via Getty Images

Despite a 22-60 season, one of the worst in the team’s history, Spurs fans remain encouraged, buoyed by the promise of Victor Wembanyama.

Why it matters: San Antonio has a palpable excitement when the Spurs are doing well. A successful team and star player can boost any city’s morale and economy — and elevate its status as a destination for sports fans.

Driving the news: The 20-year-old Wembanyama finished his rookie season on Friday with an exciting 121-120 win over reigning champions, the Denver Nuggets.

By the numbers: He averaged 21.4 points, 10.6 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 3.6 blocks per game this season.

According to The Athletic’s Player Efficiency Rating, which measures an athlete’s offensive performance, Wemby has a 23.1.
He’s up there with all-time greats Wilt Chamberlain (28.2), Spurs legend David Robinson (26.3) and Michael Jordan (25.8).
This rookie season is dotted with so many “firsts” and stunning stats, that the popular podcast “No Dunks” had enough content to make a minute-long wrap-up of them, and Air Alamo contributor Ty Jager made a bracket of Wemby’s highlights.

What they’re saying: Wemby reflected on his first season at a Friday press conference. He recognized the 60 losses but highlighted the fans’ confidence that grew as the team finally started to click, winning 7 of the last 11 games.

“I know it’s for the long term and I trust my teammates 100% and I trust the project,” he said.

Fun fact: A lot of Wemby’s quirks came out as Spurs fans became better acquainted with the star.

Like that, he maintains a strict hour of reading time every day, when he can’t be disturbed.
Or that he uses interesting drills to prevent ankle injuries.

Flashback: When the Spurs won the NBA lottery last May, San Antonio celebrated like it was 1999. That excitement persisted despite a tough season.

Fans shared their favorite Wemby moments on X, keeping the spirit alive despite the losses.

Most reactions centered on his blocks against fellow rookie Chet Holmgren and Giannis Antetokounmpo.
San Antonio Sports Star host Jason Minnix tells Axios that Wemby’s season had many “‘wow’ moments like we used to get from Manu Ginobili.”

Between the lines: It’s not just Spurs fans who have been excited by Wemby’s season. Other NBA players are too.

Respected ESPN writer Brian Windhorst recently predicted that big-name players will want to join Wemby, which could transform the once small-market team into a top destination for star talent.

What’s next: Minnix says he’s looking forward to seeing what offseason moves the Spurs make to support Wemby.

“I know Pop has said the organization won’t skip steps, but this does not need to be a slow rebuild. Victor is ready to take over the league,” he says.

What we’re watching: Wemby is in the running for two end-of-season awards: Defensive Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year.

The announcements should come any day now.

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