Published on 11/18/2023 at 4:03 p.m.
Modified on 11/18/2023 at 6:09 p.m.
NBA – Spurs Struggle as Victor Wembanyama’s Performance Remains Inconsistent
The San Antonio Spurs have suffered their seventh consecutive defeat, leaving them with a record of 3 wins and 9 losses. Drawing conclusions about this young team after just 12 matches is proving to be a challenging task.
While the Spurs struggle on the road, they show more promise when playing at home. One player who has been a topic of discussion is Victor Wembanyama. With an average of 19.3 points per game, shooting at 44% overall and 28% from beyond the arc, along with 9.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 2.2 blocks, and 3.9 turnovers in 30 minutes per game, Wembanyama’s shot selection and turnovers raise concerns. However, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich sees this as part of the learning process for the “Wemby Project.”
A Unique Development Path
“I don’t want to follow a predefined roadmap because there isn’t one,” explains Popovich to the San Antonio Express-News. “Wembanyama does extraordinary things, but he also does things I wouldn’t want him to do. However, I intervene minimally because I need to understand where he feels most comfortable on the court.”
For the 74-year-old coach, this observation phase is crucial, even if it may appear unconventional to outsiders.
“Once we have a better understanding, then we can refine and improve certain aspects. But for now, I need to gather more information about him instead of trying to control everything and dictate his every move,” Popovich adds.
This doesn’t mean that the Spurs have no guidelines or structure in place. Similar to the “Point Sochan” project, Popovich is waiting until he has gathered enough data to make definitive conclusions.
Understanding Preferences for Optimal Utilization
Recently, Popovich reminded his players that utilizing lob passes should be a last resort option, considering they have a 2.22-meter player (2.26 meters with shoes) with a wingspan of 2.43 meters.
“We emphasized this during the summer and preseason, but we haven’t utilized it as much since the season started. So we had a discussion to remind the team about this asset,” acknowledges Popovich.
The Spurs have also noticed that Wembanyama performs better when receiving the ball in the low post on the left side, despite being right-handed, which deviates from the norm.
“We need to observe him closely to identify his natural strengths,” concludes Gregg Popovich. “This will help us tailor our systems to maximize his potential. However, we won’t impose any rigid framework on him.”