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Spurs’ Victor Wembanyama era begins October 25 at home vs. Luka Doncic’s Mavericks

The entire 2023-24 NBA regular-season schedule was released today, and thus we have official word that the Victor Wembanyama era with the San Antonio Spurs will begin at home on Wednesday, Oct. 25 against Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks. It didn’t take the books long as the #MFFL are 5.5-point opening favorites on the spread and -240 on the moneyline (Spurs +200).

Wembanyama, a 7-foot-5 Frenchman, is considered the top prospect to enter the NBA since LeBron James in 2003 – and neither of them played college basketball. The 2002-03 Cleveland Cavaliers won 17 games. The next year with LeBron as a rookie, they improved to 35 victories, so plus-18.

The last time the #GoSpursGo struck gold and won the draft lottery was in 1997 and they took Wake Forest center Tim Duncan at No. 1 overall. Duncan improved San Antonio by 36 wins (from 20 to 56) his first year. San Antonio was tanking last season as were many teams and finished with 22 wins. The books have Gregg Popovich’s team set at over-under 29.5 this year.

Victor Wembanyama will make his NBA debut Oct. 26 vs. Dallas.

No league markets its stars better than the #NBA. You couldn’t find the Spurs last year on TV unless you had NBA League Pass or lived locally, etc. This year, they are scheduled for 11 nationally televised games -- including the opener (on ESPN) and three of San Antonio's four group stage games in the new in-season tournament. That’s the Wemby Factor.

Season over-under totals also are available for Wembanyama: 17.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.5 blocks. If he averages around those numbers and doesn’t get hurt, he should win NBA Rookie of the Year and is the -130 favorite. Duncan did win it after averaging 21.1 points, 11.9 rebounds and 2.5 blocks. It was evident right away he was a future Hall of Famer. Duncan also played four years at Wake Forest before the NBA. Wemby is 19.

If there’s one concern among scouts, it’s that Wembanyama is going to get physically pushed around and perhaps injured until he bulks up and if he can add weight/strength may turn into Shawn Bradley, although Wemby is basically a guard in his 7-foot-5 body and Bradley could not do many of those things. He was just tall.

One book actually does offer an over-under on games played for Wembanyama: 65.5 and the under is a -145 favorite. If he plays 65 games or fewer, either something went wrong or the Spurs don’t want to risk their prize and give him some back-to-back games off, perhaps shut him down a bit early.

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