It may only be the NBA preseason, but Victor Wembanyama has spent this time putting in his resume as the most fun player in basketball.
If you need a recap, here’s Game 1, Game 2 and Game 3, all comically entertaining nights featuring a 6-foot-11 19-year-old with the skills and instincts of a veteran guard. The San Antonio Spurs rookie concluded his preseason with another appearance, this time against the loaded Golden State Warriors.
The Warriors at least had some fun with the challenge in front of them, sending 6-foot-10 Stephen Curry for the opening tip.
Welcome to the preseason.
We were able to throw away all the absurd things Wembanyama did in the following hours, like blocking Klay Thompson at the 3-point line and release a 3-pointer on the other end. Or lift off the edge of the paint and perform a two-handed dunk. Or Put Andrew Wiggins in the seventh circle of hell.
What stood out most, however, was how often Wembanyama’s long hands found their way into the flow of the game, like in this 90-second stretch in which he fired a long two-pointer, scored an and-1 from the baseline and blocked Thompson, made the 3-pointer, blocked Wiggins and made another 3-pointer.
Wembanyama finished with 19 points on 8 of 19 shooting (2 of 7 from distance) with four rebounds and five blocks in 21 minutes in a 122-117 Spurs win.
We’re at the point where Wembanyama can essentially be considered Shohei Ohtani at the start of his career, as he presents a physical package never before seen in league history, with questions like 1) whether he can stay healthy or not not and 2) whether that’s the case The laws of physics are really that flexible.
Ohtani proved to be a real talent, albeit with significant injury problems. We can only hope that Wembanyama is the former without the latter. Either way, you’ll want to watch the whole thing on League Pass.
The Spurs are finally scheduled to open their regular season on Wednesday against the Dallas Mavericks.