How would current Spurs fare with Victor Wembanyama added in 2023?
By Cal Durrett
Barring something unexpected, the San Antonio Spurs will likely finish next season near the bottom of the league standings. While that would be an unusual place for the Spurs to find themselves, it may result in them having the top pick in next year's draft.
If that were to happen, they could land their next franchise player by selecting 7’2 centerVictor Wembanyama first overall. That would be a game changer, and it would drastically improve the team's long-term outlook.
Adding Wembanyama would obviously help the team in 2023, but he wouldn’t be playing with this version of the Spurs. For instance, Jakob Poeltl and Josh Richardson are set to hit free agency, so they, along with Doug McDermott, are all likely to be traded either before or during the season.
Still, he'd make a big splash if he were to join Joshua Primo, Devin Vassell, Keldon Johnson, and Jeremy Sochan in the starting lineup. Offensively, although he isn't a dominant scorer in the low post yet, he'd still have an impact on that end. In fact, he gets a lot of his points in the pick and roll because his size makes him a big target, and he's highly mobile with good hands, making him the ideal roll man.
Wembanyama would change the game in San Antonio
Additionally, Wembanyama’s height and length make it extremely difficult to challenge his shot, especially with his freakish reach. Putting plenty of shooting around him, which the Spurs can do with Primo, Vassell, and Johnson, would force opposing teams to decide between leaving a shooter open or watching a dinosaur-sized teenager feast at the rim.
Wembanyama can also space the floor, further adding to his value. He has a solid mid-range jumper and is a high volume 3-point shooter, but he'll need to improve in that area. However, he's not that far off from being a stretch-five. Considering how much the Spurs have lagged behind the rest of the NBA in 3-point shooting, that would be great for their offense, as would getting out in transition. The Spurs are likely to play fast, and Wembanyama can more than keep up, making him the ideal center.
Defensively, Wembanyama is a terrific shot blocker due to his size and agility, making it incredibly difficult to shoot when he's nearby. In fact, he's averaged a staggering 1.8 blocks in just 16.6 minutes in his career thus far. He isn't just a great rim protector, but he's also effective guarding on the perimeter because of his long arms and quick feet, making him incredibly difficult to shake. This results in him blocking a surprising number of jump shots.
Having a player like that can completely change a defense, especially if they already have players that can guard. The Spurs do, with Jones, Johnson, Vassell, and Sochan, and adding Wembanyama to the mix would quickly get the team back to respectability on defense.
All in all, the Spurs would definitely be better off with Wembanyama in 2023, and his skills on both ends of the floor could make them a playoff team.