On October 25th, San Antonio Spurs number one overall pick Victor Wembanyama will make his regular season debut against the Dallas Mavericks. That will hopefully be the first of many games for Wembanyama as a Spur, but there is some question as to how much he will play during his rookie season.
Few players his size have ever played in the NBA, and certainly none with his skillset. That makes it difficult to project how he will perform during his rookie season as well as how often he will play. It seems like a safe bet that he won't play all 82 games, but Wembanyama didn't miss a game last season and has made a concerted effort to minimize the risk of injury in preparation for his transition to the NBA.
How many games will Victor Wembanyama play in his rookie season?
With 13 back-to-back games, it is more likely than not that coach Gregg Popovich will sit him down for at least half of them. While giving a 19-year-old the Tim Duncan treatment is sure to draw criticism, the goal is to get the Spurs' new centerpiece through his rookie season in one piece.
That means limiting the number of minutes he plays—perhaps to around 30 minutes per game—particularly when there are a lot of games close together. For instance, San Antonio will play 10 games in 16 days, from January 15th to January 31st, and Wembanyama is all but certain to miss some of them.
30 minutes per game would be on the low side for a no. 1 pick, but with the Spurs tough schedule, they may not be in the playoff race next season. Thus, having him average big minutes and play every game seems like an unnecessary risk. So how many games will Wembanyama play next season? Based on the schedule, 68 is a reasonable prediction.