NBA News: Can Victor Wembanyama win Defensive Player of the Year?
San Antonio Spurs’ number one overall pick, Victor Wembanyama, turned critics into true believers during his stellar pre-season play. So much so that The Ringer boldly predicted that Wembanyama would win Defensive Player of the Year as a rookie. If that were to happen, then he would be the first rookie in the award’s forty-plus-year history.
That is indeed a bold prediction, but not if he played like he did during the preseason. He averaged a stellar 2.8 blocks and 1 steal in fewer than 21 minutes per game. Stretched out over 32 minutes per game, that would be nearly 4.3 blocks and 1.5 steals.
Of course, he probably won’t average more than 4 blocks per game right out of the gate, but he averaged more than 3 per game last season playing for the Mets 92, so it’s not out of the realm of possibility that Wembanyama leads the league in that category.
Better still, with an 8’0 arm span, he can alter shot after shot and force even fellow big men to think twice before shooting near him. A lot will depend on how good the Spurs’ defense is and how much he plays. The Spurs had the worst defensive rating in NBA history, and even a top-10 finish might bolster his candidacy and prove the Ringer right.