Victor Wembanyama Had His Moments But Looked Like A Rookie In His Summer League Debut


For the first time since getting selected No. 1 overall in the 2023 NBA Draft, Victor Wembanyama suited up for the San Antonio Spurs and played in a basketball game on Friday night. Wembanyama and the Spurs were in the main event at Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas, as the team went up against the Charlotte Hornets, which feature the No. 2 pick in this year’s Draft, Brandon Miller.

It wasn’t especially pretty, which tends to be the case in Summer League. Wembanyama learned the hard way that games in this environment aren’t always the easiest, and while the Spurs picked up a 76-68 win on the evening, the French star had an up-and-down evening that featured both flashes of his potential and examples of how he’ll have to get used to life in the NBA.

Wembanyama wasn’t able to get his offense going early on, but his presence was very much felt on the defensive end of the floor. His length, timing, and athleticism were all things that the Hornets struggled against when he played, and he even showed off a bit of his playmaking before he picked up his first bucket. That came when he was found in transition, and despite being double-teamed, was able to score and pick up an and-one.

The handles that make him so unique were also on display, as Wembanyama was able to get to the rim from the perimeter and dump off a pass that led to a teammate getting fouled.

Ultimately, though, Wembanyama looked an awful lot like a rookie playing his first Summer League game during the opening half. There were some flashes, but in 13 minutes of work, Wembanyama scored five points on 1-for-7 shooting with five rebounds, three blocks, an assist, and two turnovers. One of those turnovers came while he was attempting to back down Miller, who stood him up admirably and stripped him.

In the third quarter, Wembanyama wasn’t able to really put his fingerprints all over the game beyond his ability to protect the paint and rebound, although he had a “welcome to the NBA” moment thanks to a throwdown by Kai Jones. That was the case for most of the fourth quarter, too, until he finally knocked down his first three of the game while getting fouled.

Wembanyama played a little more than 27 minutes on evening and had nine points, eight rebounds, five blocks, three assists, and three turnovers. He shot 2-for-13 from the field and 1-for-6 from behind the three-point line. While Wembanyama certainly did not look out of place, and his mix of rim protection and playmaking popped, he became the latest example of a rookie forward/center who struggled to get his offense going in his Summer League debut.

Next up for Wembanyama and the Spurs is a matchup against Scoot Henderson and the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday night. The game is scheduled to tip off at 8 p.m. EST on ESPN2.