by Anthony Pittman
Fans of the San Antonio Spurs have visions of The Admiral and The Big Fundamental on their minds.
Twice in the history of the franchise did the NBA lottery odds favor the silver and black to have the first selection in the draft. Twice the Spurs’ brass selected future hall-of-farmers.
I do not want to get too far ahead of myself before NBA Commissioner Adam Silver officially says: “With the first pick in the 2023 NBA draft, the San Antonio Spurs select Victor Wembanyama of Metropolitans 92 in France,” but in this case, it is hard not to get a little giddy.
Check that, a lot giddy!
Victor Wembanyama is today’s NBA. The rules of the 60s, 70s, 80s, and even 90s are long gone, so the chances of Wembanyama’s slight frame, at 7’3” and a few croissants over 200 pounds, being mauled on the floor are small. I doubt Wemby will be challenged physically until late in the regular season or the playoffs.
That’s right, I said it. Playoffs for the Spurs. And why not?
Wembanyama’s unique combination of size, agility, basketball IQ, and competitive drive makes him a transformative player who can ensure an immediate impact on the Spurs’ fortunes.
Every fan of basketball has seen the highlights. Wembanyama can alter shots, run the floor, handle the ball like a guard, and shoot with a touch someone of that size is not supposed to display. What we do not hear much about is his confidence and drive to be a dog on the court. Or maybe we should say “Daaaawg!”
Many of his competitors talk about his confidence to never back down from the heat of the moment. Wemby does not mind a little trash talk. And that is a good thing. In other words, there are no signs of Victor Wembanyama being soft.
The Spurs won 22 games last season and finished 15th in the Western Conference. If he is the transformative player so many of the basketball know-it-alls speak of, wouldn’t he be good for at least an additional 17-20 wins this season? If that is the case, the Spurs would be right in the thick of a playoff push in his first season in San Antonio. If not, Wemby’s second season will be a lead-pipe lock for the Spurs to return to the postseason.
Wembanyama is also the juice Gregg Popovich needs to make a final run for another NBA title before he decides to relax and enjoy wine vineyards all over the world. In Pop we trust!
Victor Wembanyama should be the combination of ability and personality to make the Spurs must-watch television. Even during the championship years of David Robinson, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili, the Spurs were nonsensically considered by many to be boring to watch.
Well, that is about to change.