Victor Wembanyama dominated national headlines the moment he landed stateside this summer and became the face of the franchise for the San Antonio Spurs. Though the extraterrestrial teenager has an unbelievable amount of pressure on his broad shoulders at the start of what everybody expects to be a generation-defining career, he has displayed extraordinary poise and delivered down the stretch when his team needs someone to swoop in with a timely bucket to seal the deal.
The mountainous Frenchman has been at his best with the game on the line, and he has the numbers to stake an early claim as the most clutch player in the NBA. After some more heroics that catapulted Gregg Popovich and company past the Phoenix Suns on Thursday, he has recorded 39 points on 15-of-19 shooting in the fourth quarter, which ranks first in efficiency and fifth in scoring once the action reaches a fever pitch. Not too bad for a rookie with a young supporting cast, right?
His rim protection has also been astonishing with the finish line in sight. Victor has held opponents to 13.9% from the field during the final frame when designated as the closest defender. Though players are quickly learning not to challenge the 7-foot-3 forward at the rim, he has used his ridiculously long limbs to erase shots in the paint and on the perimeter like a figurative roll of whiteout tape. You might not see him coming, but Wembanyama is always a weakside rotation from a block.
The Silver and Black were lost without a go-to option and bonafide closer last season. Wembanyama gives them a formidable two-way force who can shift the tide of a matchup in the blink of an eye, and it is no surprise San Antonio has thrived in crunch time after bolstering their young core with a once-in-a-lifetime talent. The Parisian phenom shines under the bright lights, and he possesses the game-breaking potential to help this proud organization establish another enduring dynasty.