How much is the #NBA planning to market San Antonio Spurs rookie Victor Wembanyama this season? There are three #NBAPreseason games around the league tonight: Celtics-Knicks, Nets-Lakers and Spurs-Thunder. Those first two feature big-market, marquee franchises yet the lone game on NBA TV is San Antonio at Oklahoma City as it’s the debut of the highly-touted Wembanyama. The Thunder are 4.5-point favorites.
Wembanyama is the +100 favorite to win NBA Rookie of the Year and showed why he is the most touted player to enter the NBA since LeBron James in two Summer League games before the 7-foot-4 Frenchman was shut down. Last season in the French League, he averaged 21.6 points, 10.4 rebounds, 2.4 assists along with 3.0 blocks to win MVP honors.
The Spurs held their annual Silver and Black Scrimmage on Saturday in San Antonio as the home fans got to see Wemby for the first time and he had nine points, five rebounds and a handful of wow plays – including a between the legs dunk during warmups.
Two key Spurs players will take a seat tonight in Keldon Johnson and Jeremy Sochan due to general soreness. Johnson led the team in scoring last year at 22.0 ppg, while Sochan had a very promising rookie season but dealt with some injuries. Sochan became the youngest Spur to ever start on opening night and first rookie to start since Tim Duncan in 1997.
Oklahoma City has a top Rookie of the Year candidate and 7-footer in Chet Holmgren, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2022 draft who missed all of last season injured and was a star for one season at Gonzaga. In the NBA, he’s still a rookie and is +300 for ROY.
Wemby vs. Holmgren could be the next great Western Conference individual rivalry. In two Summer League games himself this year, Holmgren averaged 20.5 points, 9.5 rebounds and 3.5 blocks.
"[Chet] is a really good player," Wembanyama said. "I played against him once a couple of years back. He's part of the great players of this generation."
Thunder superstar Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who was named All-NBA last season and recently led Canada to a bronze medal showing at the FIBA Basketball World Cup this summer, will not play tonight for OKC. Also out is guard Vasilije Micic, a two-time EuroLeague MVP who finally agreed to come to the USA to play in the NBA.