Evaluating Victor Wembanyama: Strengths, weaknesses and potential of the Spurs super rookie

Victor Wembanyama entered the NBA as one of the most potential players of all time. So how is the 19-year-old prodigy’s performance after his first month in the NBA?

Like every other rookie, Wembanyama had ups and downs. For example, he had four games scoring 20 points or more, one of which was a 38-point performance against the Phoenix Suns that had the entire NBA buzzing. However, the French player still has many immature moments and clearly shows that he is still a rookie who has just arrived in the tournament.

Join Sporting News to evaluate the performance of Victor Wembanyama, the most notable rookie in the NBA 2023/24.

Evaluate Victor Wembanyama’s attacking ability

Wembanyama will overwhelm many people on a day when he is in top form. A player who is 2m26 tall and has an arm span of 2m43 is not common in basketball. Especially when Wembanyama’s mobility and mobility are better than other players of the same height. He has great feel for the basket and Spurs are doing everything they can to give the French player space under the basket.

The image below proves Wembanyama’s difference, his rebound range is superior to the rest of the players. The person competing for the ball with Wembanyama is Robert Covington, 2m03 tall.

Wembanyama will maximize his potential if he plays alongside players who pass the ball well. Many moments this season, the French striker was in a favorable position, but the Spurs players did not realize it and brought the ball to him. Unsurprisingly, Tre Jones is the one who supports Wembanyama  more than anyone else on the Spurs  and San Antonio is much better offensively  when both are on the field.

In addition to his overwhelming ability to hit the basket thanks to his body shape, Wembanyama’s remaining skills are also gradually improving. No one can reach Wembanyama’s shooting range, but the French player only has a  36.4% success rate  on average shots and  28.3% success  rate from 3-point range, both parameters. are all below average  compared to players in the same position.

Below is one of Wembanyana’s classy plays. But it may be a long time before he can make such throws regularly.

Wembanyama also had some problems with ball rotation, losing the ball 3.9 times per game (Not many rookies have a high rate of losing the ball in their rookie season ). Wembanyama can execute successful dribbles, but he needs to be more decisive in his handling to become a reliable source of creativity. The French center  is a good passer , but the NBA game seems to move a little too fast for him – which is normal for a rookie. 

Below, Wembanyama did a great job of attracting opponents and opening up space for his teammates, but he decided not to pass to Cedi Osman, whose 3-point shooting is 44.7% this season, and instead went to Pass to a beleaguered Malaki Branham under the basket. It was one of seven turnovers that Wembanyama had against the Heat, his record for losing the ball in a single match so far this season.

Marking Wembanyama is a big problem for every team. A stronger player than Wemby usually won’t have enough speed to mark him. While a player with good speed, will not have the ideal physique like the French player. The skills the 19-year-old has shown so far are very impressive, especially when he plays as a center forward.

The match against the Suns is a typical example, when Wembanyama was in high form, stopping him was impossible.

Evaluate Victor Wembanyama’s defensive ability

Wembanyama is considered one of the best defensive players in the NBA right now, which is amazing considering he is still a 19-year-old rookie. Wembanyama was named France’s LNB Pro A Defensive Player of the Year last season, but it’s still extremely rare for a teenage rookie to immediately make such an impact in the NBA.

Of course, the most striking thing about Wembanyama is his height. Wemby has a huge presence around the basket and his height makes him a nightmare under the basket. Furthermore, Wembanyama is quick enough to move out and pressure defenders before they throw the ball. Wembanyama had moments of good defense against stars like Luka Doncic, Kyrie Irving and Paul George.

George, an eight-time All-Star and six-time All-NBA star, had this to say about Wembanyama: 

“As soon as I saw Wembanyama under the basket, I decided to take a medium shot, and suddenly his arm suddenly appeared in front of him. I was like ‘What the hell? Was throwing the ball a bad decision? Should I pass the ball, I think he should be under the basket.” That’s why I’m shy even when there’s space. He’s always like that on the court, as if to say “I’ll be there.” right before you throw”.

Below is a prime example of Wembanyama’s ability to defend and create pressure in a ball phase. The French striker really creates good pressure in both the inner and outer areas.

Although there were times when Wembanyama was too affectionate and his opponents dribbled past him (Duncan Robinson recently  did that ), it was still too good for a rookie. Wembanyama has blocked a lot of shots, opponents are having trouble attacking in front of him and Spurs actually defend better when the French center is on the field.

If he continues to play like he is now, Wembanyama will be named to the All-Defensive team at the end of the season and become a candidate for Defensive Player of the Year. He has the skills to be a top defensive player in the league.

Specifications of Victor Wembanyama

  • 30.0 minutes per match
  • 18.6 points per game
  • 9.3 rebounds per game
  • 2.5 assists per game
  • 2.4 blocks per game
  • 1.0 steals per game
  • 3.9 turnovers per game
  • 2.5 errors per match
  • Successful throwing rate 43.2%
  • Three-point shooting success rate 28.3%
  • Free throw success rate 76.6%

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