Grading Victor Wembanyama's NBA debut (and 3 striking Spurs observations)

Dallas Mavericks v San Antonio Spurs
Dallas Mavericks v San Antonio Spurs / Christian Petersen/GettyImages
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3.) How will the Spurs close games?

San Antonio was one of the worst teams in the clutch last season, and their home-opening loss to the Mavericks showed adding Victor to the equation would never be a one-stop shop for solving all of their issues when things come down to the wire. Between defensive lapses and an unrefined half-court configuration, the Silver and Black failed to match the execution of their in-state rivals, and they looked unsure of how to approach the final possessions of the contest.

Some Spurs fans were upset Wembanyama wasn't more involved in the offense in crunch time, but there was no sense in force-feeding him the ball. Though he has the upside to become the closer for this young club, the Dallas defense committed to their scouting report, never over-helped on drives from his teammates, and nudged him out of the paint on early post-ups. Of course, Keldon and Sochan attacking the rim with reckless abandon and turning it over was less than ideal.

Gregg Popovich and his coaching staff are in the first stages of learning how to make the most of their inexperienced personnel, and it is vital to build a practical and repeatable process rather than count on Wemby to self-create them past the finish line with a bevy of low-percentage pull-up jumpers or step-back threes. That isn't to suggest finding him touches isn't a priority. Planting Jones on the bench was a questionable decision, and so was leaving Vassell out of the action.

Next. Wembanyama and superstars. Retired superstars lose their minds over Victor Wembanyama. dark