Key players fueled by crucial intangible Pop learned from Spurs legend in huge win

The San Antonio Spurs shocked the Wolves 113-112 in their biggest win of the year, and the players are gaining confidence, led by Gregg Popovich and his past.
Victor Wembanyama, Jeremy Sochan, Devin Vassell
Victor Wembanyama, Jeremy Sochan, Devin Vassell / Ronald Cortes/GettyImages

The San Antonio Spurs just got their biggest win of the season. Beating the Western Conference's second-seeded Timberwolves is no small feat, and they did it with flair. Minnesota rolled up to the Frost Bank Center with the NBA's best defense, holding teams to an average of 108 points per game. Unfortunately for them, the Silver and Black did not get that memo en route to scoring 113 to secure a clutch victory while styling on the NBA Defensive Player of the Year.

Victor Wembanyama has given fans wow plays all season, but he continues to show his bag is deeper than Newt Scamander in the movie Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. (For those who haven't seen the film, Scamander can walk inside his carrying bag, where another world exists.) It doesn't matter if you believe Wemby is 7'3, 7'5, or 7'9; tradition dictates he should not be able to Shammgod Rudy Gobert, yet the Alien continues to wow audiences with Coach Popovich at the helm.

The Popovich influence is influenced by his past

It is easy to wax poetic about Victor Wembanyama. He is the Super Duper Super Soaker 3000, with all the best features of past water gun greats. The confidence observers are seeing from the players is a result of the trust Coach Pop puts in the guys to be themselves and he mentioned that in his post-game interview saying, "Players play and having that freedom for people like Jeremy and Victor, I think it’s important. Just as it was for Manu."

The result of that freedom is a 20-year-old rookie playing with the unwavering confidence to try things so amazing to watch that it makes fans feel like they are watching a video game character.

Jeremy Sochan scored 31 points last night in a victory against the Portland Trail Blazers, and he followed it up with another great night. He's been playing within himself, and the confidence Spurs fans saw last year has returned. This return to form would not be possible without the nonstop support Coach Pop gives The Polish Prince to be himself leading to plays like this.

The future is bright for Sochan The Destroyer, and if Devin Vassell can continue to play the kind of game he put on display last night, pouring in 25 points including some clutch shot-making, the Spurs will turn into a juggernaut before long. The core four players—Victor Wembanyama, Devin Vassell, Keldon Johnson, and Jeremy Sochan have all flashed potential for greatness in their young careers.

If they all reach their peaks, the new salary cap rules will make it difficult to keep them all without team-friendly deals, but that is putting the cart before the horse. One thing at a time.

Manu Ginobili and Boris Diaw were cheering on the squad from the crowd last night. How fitting that two beloved Spurs alumni, both known for their selfless play, were in the building for such a huge victory centered around such a team effort.

Very well said, Keldon.