Victor Wembanyama’s NBA Summer League debut may have left thousands of spectators unimpressed, as they were heard muttering about his skills as a ball screener, rather than his gameplay. The international sensation and No. 1 pick from France scored a forgettable nine points with eight rebounds and five blocks on 2-of-13 shooting in his first game for the San Antonio Spurs against the Charlotte Hornets. While Wembanyama looked out of practice during his lid-lifter, he explained that he had not played basketball in a while, as he was busy with the banquet circuit and adjusting to the limelight as the presumptive top pick. He hopes to improve his performance in the coming summer league games and looks forward to the rest that will follow afterwards. In contrast, the No. 2 pick, Brandon Miller from the Charlotte Hornets, appeared sharper and quicker with his 16 points and 11 rebounds, but neither player’s gameplay was exceptional. Fans who stayed until the end murmured collectively as Miller sank a 3-ball over Wembanyama in the fourth quarter. Despite the underwhelming start, Wembanyama cherished the experience of wearing the Spurs’ jersey for the first time and hopes to perform better in their next game against the Portland Trail Blazers.
Wembanyama’s debut in basketball was highly anticipated, comparable to Zion Williamson’s in 2019. Despite Williamson’s lackluster performance, there was at least an earthquake that shook the scoreboard and stopped the game. On the other hand, during Wembanyama’s debut, the only shaking in the building occurred when Charlotte’s Kai Jones scored a lob over him in the third quarter. Despite his jokes about ball screens, Wembanyama’s sheer size and presence on defense were impressive, as he blocked five shots and disrupted many others. While his offense skills will come, he has already demonstrated his shot, handles, and rim-attacking abilities for the Metropolitans or Team France. In the second half, he was scoreless until he connected on a 3 and was fouled with 2:50 left in the game. He recognizes that his biggest improvement area is being ready to react when the play is called.
The summer coach of the Spurs, Matt Nielsen, expressed his approval of Wembanyama’s performance, despite the attention he has received. The team focused on his physicality, which was satisfactory overall. Wembanyama had a busy week, including an encounter with pop star Britney Spears at a restaurant. Although Spears claimed that the Spurs’ security guard hit her, law officials found no evidence to support her claim. Wembanyama remarked that everything has been well-organized, and he is pleased with his experience so far in the NBA.