Victor Wembanyama entered the NBA as the most talked about prospect ever LeBron James.
The 7-foot-4-inch French phenom was selected first overall by the San Antonio Spurs in 2023 NBA Draft and was billed as the next big man to play for the organization.
The Spurs selected David Robinson first overall in 1987 before taking Tim Duncan in 1997, with both players having Hall of Fame careers as San Antonio became the envy of the NBA.
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The same result, fair or not, is expected for Wembanyama.
He started well just five games into his NBA career.
Wembanyama had 38 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks Thursday night in a 132-121 win over Kevin Durant and Phoenix Suns.
The 19-year-old rookie shot 15 of 26 from the field and scored 10 of San Antonio’s final 16 points as the Spurs beat the Suns for the second straight game.
“He’s a versatile player – he’ll switch to the open guy,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich he said of Wembanyama. “He has confidence in himself. He made some plays that were unbelievable. That combination is very good.”
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Wembanyama’s 38 points tie him for third as a San Antonio Rookiebehind Hall of Famer David Robinson, who scored 41 and 39 points in his rookie season, according to ESPN.
“I’m just trying to figure out what it is because we haven’t seen him before,” Suns star Devin Booker said, according to ESPN. “We got him early in the season, and hopefully the next time we play him, we can make some adjustments to make it difficult for him. But he’s got an edge that’s 7-4 and he can shoot over everybody. He’s just finding different ways to make it difficult for him”.
San Antonio blew a 27-point lead in the first half before the Suns clawed back to tie it 116-116 late in the fourth quarter.
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Wembanyama responded with 10 of San Antonio’s next 12 points as the Spurs moved to 3-2 on the year.
“I would say a 20-point lead is nothing,” Wembanyama said. “It works both ways. It’s also something we’ve seen in FIBA when we play Team USA or when we scout the U.S. You can get to 15 and in a flash you’re down by one and you don’t know what happened because they ran the fastbreak like crazy and got some defensive stops.
“Well yeah, in the NBA it’s the same.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report