Takeaway #1: Wembanyama is clutch.
Wembanyama has tended to struggle more on offense than defense, but those struggles go away in the fourth quarter. In his first 11 games as a Spur, he’s averaged 6.9 points, or one-third of his scoring average in the fourth. Not only that, but he’s shooting 71.1% from the field and 50% from three, compared to 43.5% and 27.9% over the entire game.
Some of that can be attributed to the Spurs starting the second and fourth quarters with both Wembanyama and Jones. The Spurs play faster with Jones running the point and Wembanyama likes to get out and run.
With Jones pushing, he often finds him for lobs or other teammates for hit-ahead passes that they promptly feed to a deer-like Wembanyama running the floor. Jones has even attacked the paint in transition, drawing defensive attention only to drop a pass to a cutting Wembanyama who can catch, dribble, and finish without taking more than a couple of steps inside the 3-point line.
The Spurs getting him the ball in transition would definitely help get him easy baskets, but their problem at starting point guard has made that more difficult. Still, those early baskets tend to help Wembanyama’s confidence.
The NBA season is now a few weeks old and trends are emerging, including which teams will dominate and which will struggle.
And when he comes back into the game during the clutch, he suddenly looks like Kevin Durant, nailing clutch threes or big jumpers. The trick is to get him to play that way the entire game but at least he seems to step up late, even with opposing defenses playing their hardest.