The San Antonio Spurs fell short in their preseason opener, losing 122-121 in a nail-biter as they succumbed to a furious second-half comeback from the Oklahoma City Thunder. Multiple household names like Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Keldon Johnson, and Jeremy Sochan missed this matchup, but the game still had an extremely competitive atmosphere.
Hoops fans have been waiting for the highly-anticipated meeting between Victor Wembanyama and Chet Holmgren, and their first head-to-head had all the entertainment to live up to the billing. How did the rookie sensation perform in his unofficial professional debut? And which of his teammates stood out for the Silver and Black on Monday night?
The collective basketball community waited three months to see Victor Wembanyama back in action following his early exit from Las Vegas Summer League, and he more than lived up to expectations in his preseason debut. The French phenom finished the night with 20 points, five rebounds, two steals, and one block on 8-of-13 shooting in 19 minutes, showcasing a combination of impressive skills that made it a no-brainer for the Spurs to select him with the first overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft.
Wembanyama had numerous head-turning sequences, including a putback on a missed free throw, a sidestep three running around a dribble handoff, and an acrobatic layup under the outstretched arms of Chet Holmgren. The 19-year-old forward was also impactful on the opposite end, deterring would-be drivers with his imposing paint presence and providing punctual help defense by using every inch of his eight-foot wingspan to dislodge the ball with almost incomprehensible digs from the nail.