The 2023 number-one overall pick Victor Wembanyama is possibly the most hyped prospect in NBA history. With all eyes on him during his rookie season, it is clear why he is viewed as a generational prospect.
In just his third game in the NBA, Wembanyama carried the Spurs to victory over the Phoenix Suns, dropping 38 points and outplaying established stars like Kevin Durant and Devin Booker. However, he has also struggled at times and the Spurs are somehow much worse than they were last season, when they won just 22 games.
That isn’t necessarily Wembanyama’s fault, though they will need him to play better if they hope to overcome an ugly 3-9 start. Next, we’ll take a look at six key takeaways from Wembanyama’s first month in the NBA.
Takeaway #6: Wembanyama struggles with consistency.
Inconsistency has been Wembanyama’s biggest issue thus far. That isn’t surprising since he is a teenager, but it’s been more stark for him. In wins, he’s averaging 25.7 points, 10 rebounds, 3 blocks, and shooting 49.1% from the field. Meanwhile, in losses, he’s only averaging 16.9 points on 40.1% shooting, 9 rebounds, 4 turnovers, and 2.2 blocks. Of course, the Spurs only have three wins in their first 12 games, but his shooting and turnover issues have contributed to those losses.
Some teams have been better than others at defending Wembanyama, with some opting to play a traditional big man on him and providing limited help, while others immediately double him to force the ball out of his hands. That has led to some turnover issues, and he is also spending more time out on the perimeter than one would like to see from a player who’s 7’4.
To be clear, he isn’t a traditional back-the-basket big man, and he does take a lot of threes, but his willingness to settle plays into the defense’s game plan and sometimes takes him out of plays. He’ll have to balance his instincts to launch from outside with forcing the issue in the paint, and finding that balance will be key to getting him to play more consistently.