Watching the San Antonio Spurs lately has been like watching Wile E. Coyote attempt to catch the Roadrunner. All sorts of different tricks are being implemented to capture the ever-elusive win, but as great as the plan seems at first, it always ends up exploding in their faces for one reason or another. Despite a foiled effort in a 121-112 loss to the Chicago Bulls, Coach Popovich may have unlocked Victor Wembanyama by making one simple adjustment.
The French Phenom started the game at the center position for the first time this season, relegating Zach Collins to the bench unit. Collins performed well from the bench and is to be commended for his professionalism and contribution in one of his best games of the year. Malaki Branham got the start alongside Devin Vassell in San Antonio's backcourt and played well offensively. The threat of his scoring ability contributed to the early success of the Spurs' offense.
Victor Wembanyama thrived in his new role with San Antonio Spurs
With that credit given, it was easy to see the effect the additional space had on Wembanyama, who finished the game with 21 points, 20 rebounds, and four blocks. This is the second starting lineup switch in as many games, but if there is concern about whether fans will continue to see Wemby play center, fear not.
A common misconception has been the notion that Wembanyama is against playing center. While he may prefer the power forward position, Wemby is on record as being open to playing any position necessary. Fans got a chance to see what that may look like, and as he continues to figure out how to attack defenders, the Alien will have more dominant nights than not.
Last night's game followed a similar script to the one fans have grown familiar with throughout the 16-game losing streak. The Spurs will play fairly well early, even leading many games as they did against Chicago, only to see their opponents level up in the second half as their aggressiveness and efficiency faded in unison like Aladdin and Jasmine finishing their "Whole New World" duet. But that does not take away from the impact of Wembanyama in his newly established center position and that's something to hold on to. For now.