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NBA: Wembanyama exhibits why he’s most-hyped prospect in years

Victor Wembanyama Spurs NBA

San Antonio Spurs heart Victor Wembanyama (1) drives on Phoenix Suns ahead Kevin Durant in the course of the second half of an NBA basketball recreation Thursday, Nov 2, 2023, in Phoenix. (AP Picture/Rick Scuteri)

PHOENIX — Victor Wembanyama strolled via the hallways at Footprint Middle after the very best recreation of his quick NBA profession when he handed 13-time All-Star Kevin Durant, stopping for a fast handshake and fast hug.

Some say the 7-foot-4 Frenchman is a taller model of Durant.

Durant’s first impression is that the budding San Antonio Spurs star may be even higher.

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“His enthusiasm for the sport — you may inform that via the TV and enjoying in opposition to him,” Durant stated. ”He’s his personal participant, personal individual. He’s going to create his personal lane and is way completely different than anybody else who has performed.”

In simply his fifth NBA recreation, the 19-year-old Wembanyama confirmed why he was one of many most-hyped prospects in years, scoring 38 factors and grabbing 10 rebounds in a standout efficiency throughout a 132-121 victory over Durant and the Phoenix Suns on Thursday night time.

Wembanyama produced a number of highlight-reel performs within the recreation, together with a hovering dunk whereas working the ground in the course of the second quarter. Nevertheless it was his poise within the fourth quarter that was the actual eye-opener.

The Spurs constructed a 27-point lead within the first half and nonetheless had a 14-point lead getting into the fourth quarter earlier than the Suns clawed again to tie it 116 with about 4 minutes left. That’s when Wembanyama took over, with the precocious rookie making a 3-pointer, three free throws, a dunk and an 18-foot jumper to push the Spurs on a 12-0 run that sealed the win.

Wembanyama shot 15 of 26 from the sector and added two assists, two blocks and a steal to assist the Spurs full a two-game sweep in Phoenix. He stated the sport additionally taught him an necessary lesson.

“I’d say it’s {that a} 20-point lead is nothing,” Wembanyama stated. “It really works each methods. It’s additionally one thing we’ve seen in FIBA after we play workforce U.S. or scout U.S. You could possibly be up 15 and in a blink you’ll be down one and also you don’t know what occurred as a result of they ran the fastbreak like loopy and obtained some defensive stops.

“So yeah, within the NBA it’s the identical.”

Victor Wembanyama Spurs NBA

Victor Wembanyama #1 of the San Antonio Spurs slam dunks the ball in opposition to Keita Bates-Diop #21 of the Phoenix Suns in the course of the first half of the NBA recreation at Footprint Middle on November 02, 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona. Christian Petersen/Getty Photographs/AFP

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich stated Wembanyama’s energy is that he’s unselfish however also can take over a recreation when wanted.

“He’s a multi-faceted participant — he’ll move to the open man,” Popovich stated. “He’s obtained confidence in himself. He made some performs that had been unbelievable. That mixture is fairly good.”

He actually has a number of followers on the Suns. Each three-time All-Star Devin Booker and Durant praised the rookie.

“He’s an unbelievable expertise,” Booker stated. “Everybody is aware of that. We’re simply attempting to determine what he’s as a result of we’ve by no means appear him earlier than. We obtained him early within the season. Hopefully, subsequent time we play him we are able to make some changes to make it more durable. However he has a bonus being 7-4 and with the ability to shoot over everyone.”

That benefit isn’t going away anytime quickly.

And if Thursday night time was any indication, Wembanyama is each bit the rising NBA star that many anticipated.

“I don’t see anybody else like him on this recreation,” Durant stated. “We’re each skinny and I do know he watched me rising up, however he’s his personal participant.”

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