When watching any of the John Wick movies, one might say Keanu Reeves is one of the best action stars of his generation. When you consider movies like Speed and the Matrix, it is hard to argue against them. But then you remember Keanu has done good horror movies and held his own in the romance field, leading to the realization that this man can do it all. That sequence of realization is what observers must experience when watching San Antonio Spurs rookie Victor Wembanyama.
Meanwhile, Devin Vassell took the route of the Dark Knight, Batman. The Caped Crusader struggled early in his vigilante duties and took some losses. He got beat up—the equivalent of Vassell dealing with his injuries. But he is discovering that the beast has been in him the entire time, and the grit that he needs to pull out 30-point performances comes from within.
Wemby and Vassell have potential as a top-tier 1-2 punch
The Spurs broke their 18-game losing streak emphatically, charged by the performances of their blossoming stars. There were many reasons to be excited while watching last night's game. The defense continues to improve through timely rotations, effective communication, and effort. The offense has seemed to learn what proper spacing is and the decisions to shoot, drive, or pass are coming quicker.
None of that matters if your best players do not show up, and show up they did. Vassell went absolutely nuclear to reach a new career high in points with 36. The aggression he showed all night was a breath of fresh air. It is exactly what the Silver and Black need from the standout from Florida State. He attacked all three levels of the court, playing with efficiency, and exploded to put the game out of reach when the Lakers made a late push.
Wembanyama finished the game with 13 points, 15 rebounds, five assists, two steals, and two blocks. At just 19 years old, Wemby understands that every facet of basketball can be an advantage if you commit to it. He made his mark early with shot-making, but once Los Angeles shifted to a zone defense, it made scoring more difficult for the rookie. His adjustment was becoming a facilitator and playing with patience, resulting in another impressive performance.
The biggest problem with young teams is consistency. Last night's performance was electric, but the Spurs players will need to increase their focus to ensure they do not slip back into negative patterns. Good defense, shot-making, and effort go a long way. The players have shown growth in several games leading up to this victory. Fans should be encouraged by the direction of the team.
What is certain is that Gregg Popovich's system still works when the players don't turn the ball over at rates so egregiously high that insurance companies are searching for trade secrets.