In his second game with the San Antonio Spurs, Victor Wembanyama appeared more at ease on the court, and the crowd got a better glimpse of what makes him so unique. In the 85-80 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday at the Thomas & Mack Center, he scored 27 points, which led all Spurs players, and added 12 rebounds, three blocks, and one steal. Wembanyama was beating defenders off the dribble, putting the ball back in the basket for putback dunks, and even making two of his four 3-point tries. Jeremy Sochan, Keldon Johnson, and Devin Vassell were observing one of the team’s newest players from courtside while they were sitting there.
Spurs teammates reactions
We’re going to have a great time this season, Sochan said with a smile to Yahoo Sports. I’m excited to play with him. His length is absurd.
Wembanyama worked out with his new teammates a week before the Spurs flew to Las Vegas for the Summer League. Wembanyama dunks on two players during five-on-five drills after a missed jumper and then appears out of nowhere for the putback. In response to what they had just witnessed, Johnson and Vassell claimed to have done nothing more than shake their heads and laugh.
Spurs guard Julian Champagnie remarked, “It’s incredibly difficult to get a shot off and get anything off around him. Vic is nice, though; he enjoys competing, and we’re all just trying to establish a rapport on the court. I enjoy my games with him a lot.
The rest of Wembanyama’s colleagues reacted in a very similar manner when they first saw him at practice and played on the court with him.
Spurs guard Blake Wesley described his reaction to the first session as “I was like, ‘Whoa,'” according to Yahoo Sports. Never before have I played with a player like him. He is extremely tall and strong. I can still see this rebound he got and the windmill slam he did after getting back up. How did he just accomplish that, I wondered? He has a lot to offer the club, and I’m really happy to have him on it.
Dominick Barlow, a 6-foot-10 forward, teams up with Wembanyama in the frontcourt to give the Spurs exceptional size and rim protection. In the first two games, the pair blocked 11 shots collectively.
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“I’ve never really had to look up to anybody before, so that was something new,” Barlow said of his first encounter with Wembanyama in an interview with Yahoo Sports. He does excellent work. He is coachable and listens, two qualities you want in a person of his potential. I’m very eager to keep playing alongside him and competing against him in games.
Wembanyama had the ball in transition with Wesley racing along the left sideline late in the third quarter of Sunday’s game. Wesley instead of cutting after Wembanyama beat his man and attracted two additional defenders, popped out to the corner for a three-pointer. Wembanyama threw the ball out of bounds because he believed he was still moving toward the hoop.
Wesley said, “We will obtain it. Just two games in, we’ve already had some positive moments, so I’m eager to keep developing our synergy.
Wembanyama has a 7-4 frame and an 8-foot wingspan, which allows him to perform on the court in ways that other players cannot. To speed up the action in transition, he started tipping the ball to his teammates nearby rather than retrieving rebounds and turning to search for an outlet pass.
We’re all just attempting to get on a single page as a group, Barlow said.
Sunday’s sold-out audience was treated to a more entertaining performance than Friday’s debut. He appeared carefree even during warm-ups, joking around with some of the coaches and chatting with his teammates. Wembanyama started to settle into the offensive sets after the game began and appeared more fluid with various play calls.
Wembanyama admitted after his first game on Friday that he “Sincerely, had no idea what I was doing on the court tonight, but I’m working to become more prepared for the season and the upcoming games.”
In his first game, he only managed to score nine points (2-for-13 from the floor) and grab eight rebounds. In his second game wearing a Spurs jersey, he played entirely differently and had a good impact on the game in several ways. A preview of the future for this young, talented Spurs team was provided at moments when he brought his teammates who were sitting courtside as supporters and his teammates who were looking from the bench to their feet.
It takes time, Wesley said. “Every one of us is young, and nothing will happen overnight. Tim Duncan joined the Spurs when they were a young team as well. In a few years, we can all gather and attempt to win a championship.