The Victor Wembanyama prelude experience began in the form of the NBA Summer League. But two games later, the soft opening to the Wemby show might be coming to a close in preparation for the world premiere.
Sources told ESPN that the San Antonio Spurs have decided to let their No. 1 pick sit out the rest of the competition in preparation for the NBA season. A good call by the team in terms of safety. We have seen the Summer League and other off-season tournaments cause long-term injuries to promising prospects.
Last summer, Oklahoma City’s Chet Holmgren got hurt in the CrawsOver Pro-Am event and missed his entire first season in the NBA. This year, Wembanyama’s draft classmates and fellow first-rounders Scoot Henderson and Amen Thompson have already suffered their tweaks early into the tournament.
Although it was short-lived, Wembanyama’s two-game stint was very telling of what we can expect from the 19-year-old phenom.
Wembanyama’s Summer League games were perfect
I’m not talking about results and stats. Situationally, it could not have been better for someone with a massive chip on his shoulder. Tall as he is, the expectations for Wembanyama are much higher.
His blunder of a first game was a letdown to most, but it did one thing that could help him in the long run– remind people that he’s human, a very young and talented one, but human. One that admittedly felt lost on his first shift.
He took the 2-13 shooting performance in a winning effort against Charlotte and bounced back with a double-double (27 points and 12 rebounds) in a loss to Portland. Night and day in a span of two games. The nervous rookie and the dominant first-pick. For what it’s worth; he will start the season on a good note with his performance on Sunday.
Early predictions for Wembanyama’s rookie season
It is definitely early to tell, but based on what we have seen so far, Wembanyama probably won’t be as dominant as some expect for his first season. He will have games when he plays well and other games when he’s off. We will see him catch fire against feasible competition and get bodied by the larger and stronger elite NBA big men.
He might not even win Rookie of the Year–emphasis on might– and I have no worries about that. Scoot Henderson and Brandon Miller may be the front runners. But it’s not how you start but how you finish. Wembanyama’s potential is at an all-time high, the Spurs’ system is proven effective, and his humility and talent will take him a long way.
Take this withdrawal from the summer league as a sign of great things to come. He is a great talent surrounded by the right people.