3 Bold Predictions as the San Antonio Spurs kick off the Wembanyama Era

Victor Wembanyama and Devin Vassell, Spurs, Alperen Sengun, Rockets
Victor Wembanyama and Devin Vassell, Spurs, Alperen Sengun, Rockets / Ronald Cortes/GettyImages
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2.) Devin Vassell makes the first All-Defensive Team of his career

While Devin Vassell fell short on the defensive end last season, it is far from his fault for failing to meet my expectations. Not only did lingering knee issues limit him to 38 games in his third year with the Spurs, but the team lacked defensive aptitude from the top to the bottom of the rotation. The 6-foot-5 swingman was supposed to be a lockdown stopper right off the bat coming out of Florida State, and he will have a chance to make amends and prove himself on this end of the court.

As mentioned earlier, defense has fallen by the wayside in San Antonio over the last few years. However, this young squad has been outspoken about their desire to make noticeable strides in that area in nearly every press conference this offseason, and those improvements could be an x-factor in the Spurs rejoining the playoff picture. The defense will receive an instant jolt with the addition of Wembanyama. Combine that with a renewed focus, and the good guys might be cooking something special.

Assuming Devin gets the toughest perimeter matchup on most nights, he should have every opportunity to put up the stats necessary to make an All-Defensive Team. With Wemby roving off-ball, putting pressure on the passing lanes, and protecting the rim, there is a non-zero chance Vassell will lead the NBA in steals in 2023-24. Posting impressive individual stats paired with a massive leap in San Antonio's defensive effectiveness could mean Devin earns consideration when award season comes around.

What will hold this prediction back? — The Spurs are incredibly young, and they won’t be perfect on defense. Also, it is simply possible Vassell might not be the defender draft experts thought he could be.