While his San Antonio Spurs may never win another game, Victor Wembanyama continues to give us something to see each and every night. He has yet to miss a game in his young NBA career and both the numbers and highlights are piling up.
Let’s take our weekly look at what’s going on in Wemby-land, some of which might help with a wager or two. Make sure to check out our NBA expert picks as well.
Wembanyama predictably went through some up-and-down stretches earlier this month. He’s found a groove once again in the past week with an extremely consistent stretch.
The 19-year-old has exactly 22 points in each of his last three games. He’s made/attempted between five and seven free throws each time and has at least nine rebounds in all of those games.
With multiple blocks in five straight and an early career-high six steals Sunday at Denver, he’s now moved into the top spot in the NBA in “stocks” (steals + blocks) with 67 (tied with Brook Lopez). That’s about as disruptive as you can get.
Wembanyama is on pace for 217 blocks, which would be the eighth-most in NBA history for a rookie, and the most since Shaq and Alonzo had 286 and 271, respectively, in 1992-93.
The dynamic teen won’t be involved in the best NBA props tonight as San Antonio is off, but if you’re interested in visiting the sportsbook, look at Thursday’s matchup with Atlanta. The Hawks have the fourth-highest defensive field-goal percentage (61.3%) inside of 10 feet, where Wembanyama takes over 40% of his shots.
The Joker Gets It
A few weeks ago we noted the praise that Wembanyama’s fellow Frenchman Rudy Gobert heaped on the Spurs rookie. This time those complimentary words come from an even higher place in the form of two-time MVP Nikola Jokic, who got his first taste of Wembymania in a San Antonio-Denver matchup on Sunday.
Victor wasted little time showing off his impressive all-around game, producing 17 points, nine rebounds, four steals and two blocks in the first half alone. He didn’t do much after the break as the Nuggets began to pull away, but Jokic had seen enough.
Nikola Jokic on his first impressions of Wemby: pic.twitter.com/1D1TnmIDws
— Paul Garcia (@PaulGarciaNBA) November 27, 2023
A Deeper Dive
Online betting fans saw Jokic finish with 39 points in that first matchup with the 7-4 Wembanyama. Jokic can probably find a way to get 39 against a fire-breathing dragon, so it doesn’t mean much. But as the matchups begin to pile up, we get a larger sample size to see just how well the rookie is handling some of the best players in the league.
Wembanyama has had more time matched up with Gobert than anyone else at 10-plus minutes. The Timberwolves center was 4-for-9 against Victor, so a pretty decent job for the rookie. Others Wembanyama has handled relatively well are OG Anunoby (2-for-6), Andrew Wiggins (1-for-5, two turnovers) and Jabari Smith Jr. (0-for-5). Kevin Durant was 1-for-3 in nearly four minutes of matchup time with Wembanyama.
On the other side, we see that Domantas Sabonis went 4-for-4 (1-for-1 from the arc) in his matchup with the rookie on Nov. 17 and his teammate, De’Aaron Fox, was 3-for-3 with a pair of 3-pointers. Keep that in mind for your NBA betting ticket when the Spurs and Kings meet again later this season.
RJ Barrett of the Knicks managed to get up three 3-pointers in his three minutes being defended by Wembanyama and all of them went in.
Oh, one more. Desmond Bane was marked by Wembanyama for a total of 46 seconds in the Memphis-San Antonio game Nov. 18. In that time he managed to get up six shots, making three of them, including two 3-pointers. Talk about high volume.
Questions Of The Day
Will Victor Wembanyama finish as top scorer for the Spurs?
It’s looking pretty good for him in this department. Wembanyama’s 19.2 average is more than a point better than Devin Vassell at 18.1.
Will Wembanyama win Rookie of the Year this season?
This is not a slam dunk. Oklahoma City’s Chet Holmgren is right with Wembanyama and don’t sleep on Ausar Thompson or Jaime Jaquez Jr.