5 Reasons the Spurs landing Victor Wembanyama is only the beginning
By Ethan Farina
3. San Antonio's rising stars should see an easier path to success
Even without Wembanyama, the San Antonio Spurs had the foundations of a solid roster with Devin Vassell, Keldon Johnson, and Jeremy Sochan. But now that San Antonio can confidently pencil Wemby into their starting rotation next season, everyone's life just got substantially easier.
Let's start with Devin Vassell. Devin performed better than expected in his first season as the lead scoring option. He averaged a career-high 18.5 points per game, but Vassell occasionally looked overmatched as San Antonio's top option. Devin seemed downright annoyed at times that Spurs fans kept spamming his mentions with talk of Wembanyama, though he has changed his tune since then.
With Wembanyama and the attention he will demand from opposing defenses, Gregg Popovich should have no problem scheming up cleaner catch-and-shoot opportunities for one of the NBA's premier shooters.
Devin shot 43% on catch-and-shoot attempts this season. On a healthy diet of kick-outs from Wembanyama, I imagine the frequency and accuracy of these looks should increase. That'll go a long way toward helping one of the NBA's worst three-point shooting offenses.
Wembanyama's abilities as a skilled passer should also benefit Keldon Johnson. I would like to see San Antonio lean into Wemby's passing ability. It is almost impossible to obstruct his view of the court, and they could use him similar to how the Kings brought out the best in Domantas Sabonis this season.
Whether it's finding Keldon on cuts to the rim or utilizing dribble handoffs to get him a head of steam, the Spurs should try deploying Wembanyama at the top of the key and running the offense through him. Johnson averaged 1.4 points per possession on cuts and 0.96 points per possession on handoffs this season but rarely utilized these actions.
KJ is at his best when he's attacking the rim. Pulling the opponent's big man out of the paint and forcing them to guard Wemby on the perimeter will open up the lane for Keldon, and using well-timed cuts and handoffs should help him beat his man to the rim. The results could be deadly.
Finally, adding Wembanyama enables Jeremy Sochan to do what he does best - inject an element of chaos and unpredictability into San Antonio's defensive schemes.
Even in his rookie season, Sochan effortlessly switched onto guards, wings, and forwards on the perimeter and held his own in the post. That's something San Antonio should enable even further now that they know they can rely on Wembanyama and his eight-foot wingspan to protect the rim. Let Sochan run rampant on the perimeter and trust that Victor can cover for any mistakes he might make gambling.