3 scenarios the San Antonio Spurs must avoid in 2023–24

Gregg Popovich
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1.) Wembanyama suffering a season-ending injury

Keeping Wembanyama healthy this season will be the top priority for the Spurs. But basketball gods forbid, a season-ending injury would not only wreck the Spurs' chances of competing this season but potentially affect the team next season. After all, the summer is when young players have the opportunity to add to their game and if he is recovering from a major injury, the focus would be on recovery rather than development.

That development can't be understated. Take other hyped former number one overall picks who had great rookie seasons but became superstars in year two. Going back in time to Shaquille O'Neal, he jumped from 23.4 to 29.3 points per game in his second year. While LeBron James jumped from 20.9 to 27.2 points per game during his second season. No matter how good Wembanyama is during his rookie year, the goal is to have him enter the summer fully healthy to ensure that his progression isn't interrupted.

The Spurs assuredly know how important his health is and will likely take measures to minimize injury, such as limiting him to around 30 minutes per game and perhaps no more than 70 games this season. That might seem too precautionary but there has literally only been one player at least 7'4 to have a long NBA career (Mark Eaton) and the Spurs are hoping that by going slow with Wembanyama, he could be the second.