No one knows how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop, but hopefully it doesn’t involve a 12+ game losing streak! I would have mentioned something more along the lines of stone, boulders, or granite, and you know, pounding away on a proverbial rock, but it seemed redundant on this hallowed website.
Regardless, our guys took another crack at it against the defending champion Denver Nuggets. Victor Wembanyama led the team with 22 points and incredibly had 11 rebounds, 6 steals, and 4 blocks in only 25 minutes. Devin Vassell provided a spark off the bench with 19 points while Malaki Branham contributed 15 points in a starting role.
Wembanyama continues to show his potential in the early parts of this season. His length and versatility were on display and the box score proved that as he thieved the ball 6 times either through direct robbery or showing out in the passing lanes.
There were other highlights worth noting like this lane cut by Devin Vassell for two at the rim. The Spurs seem to be bringing Vassell along slowly off his injury as the guard continued to operate off the bench.
Wembanyama makes a lot of things look easy, like this reverse tip-in, soft dunk. He’s the type of person that could make replacing a laundry room water faucet look easy. And boy let me tell you, watching a qualified plumber replace your laundry room water faucet connection does not look as easy it sounds.
On this play, Zach Collins takes advantage of Wembanyama’s orbit drawing in defenders and finds himself open for an easy dunk. Collins this season has been a steady contributor, averaging 14 points, 6 rebounds, and 3.8 assists (I added the decimal to highlight that he’s closer to 4 assists per game, which is impressive and a career high).
Sharing is caring. Even though my favorite holiday just passed (no, not Black Friday although Cyber Monday is drawing 90% of my attention today). Here, the young Spurs showed off their giving spirit and Malaki Branham finishes the sequence with a layup.
The Sochan Experiment could be a great garage band name, trivia game night group name, or even a chest tattoo that I decided to get after a night of binge watching old Spurs highlights. Regardless, Sochan finding Vassell for this open court slam in transition proves he has court vision and the ability to create easy buckets for teammates.
It may seem simple or unrefined at first, but most great experiments had humble beginnings in a garage like Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, and Steve Jobs who all started their businesses in a garage so that one day I could have the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and Ted Lasso beamed directly to my iPod video that I bought at a garage sale.
If the good guys could do this 10x a game, I’m confident they’d win more games. Easier said than done, you say? Would you say that’s easier than cloning 4 more Wembanyamas and winning 4 more lotteries to draft him and creating new CBA regulations that prohibit teams from paying out one salary to five clones because they’d argue the salary cap cannot be applied to duplicate DNAs? See, maybe trying to get out in transition more doesn’t seem so hard now does it?
Despite his cat-like reflexes, Wembanyama also can lull defenders in with his steady dribble and patience. His chemistry with Collins provides a glimpse of Wembanyama’s versatility and ability to play efficiently with multiple types of players from guards to bigs.
I never get tired of seeing this. It gives me life. Like a ray of sunshine through the clouds. That’s today’s theme I want each of you to take with you today. Tell that cloud who’s boss. Tell your boss you need a minute because you’re scouting for potential draft picks and impactful free agents.
If you missed the game because you were too busy arguing with strangers on the internet about why the Disney era Star Wars trilogy were inferior movies, here are the full-game highlights:
Next up, the Spurs head back home to take on the Atlanta Hawks on Thursday, November 30, 2023.