Victor Wembanyama’s recent breakout performance has captivated the entire basketball media landscape. My podcast feed was flooded with episodes titled variations of “Reactions to Wemby’s game” or “Wemby breakout game” after his standout performance on Thursday night for the San Antonio Spurs. One of my favorite titles came from Zach Lowe, whose enthusiasm sounded like a fan’s:
New Lowe Post podcast: The first Wemby HOLY **** game, Harden fit w/ Clips, and rapid-fire through early trends across the league with @stevejones20 :— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) November 4, 2023
Zach rarely swears on a podcast, but I can’t blame him – finding words to describe Wemby’s nightly displays is becoming difficult. To add perspective, Victor is outshining the King himself after just five games.
In their first 5 games:— Wemby Muse (@Wemby_Muse) November 3, 2023
20.6 PPG 16.8 PPG
8.0 RPG 7.6 RPG
1.6 APG 6.6 APG
3.6 BLK + STL 2.4 BLK + STL
50/32/73% 44/17/70% pic.twitter.com/LQU3aBQVZo
He’s posting higher numbers than LeBron across the board while maintaining better shooting percentages from every spot on the court. Granted, LeBron leads in assists per game, but that’s somewhat anticipated considering his heavy ball-handling responsibilities during his time in Cleveland. However, a deeper comparison reveals an important distinction between the two – Victor is achieving this while playing 12.8 minutes less per game than LeBron.
More stats:— Wemby Muse (@Wemby_Muse) November 3, 2023
28.6 MPG 41.4 MPG
3-2 W/L 0-5 W/L
Remarkably, he’s essentially playing a full quarter less than LeBron did while producing better statistics! When scanning the per 36 numbers, it shows a glimpse of what Wemby could achieve with more playing time. According to basketball reference, his per 36 numbers are 25.9 points, 10.1 rebounds, and 4.6 combined steals and blocks per game – statistics worthy of All-NBA consideration.
However, Wemby’s impact surpasses his impressive numbers. He contributes significantly to his team’s success with a +14 point differential, leading them to a 3-2 record. This is a small sample size, but it’s intriguing to observe Victor’s season to see if he can achieve something LeBron couldn’t in his rookie year – securing a .500 or better record and leading his team to the playoffs.
Regarding the talk surrounding Wemby’s recent offensive success, it’s essential to highlight his equally impressive defensive prowess. As mentioned by one of our readers, Wemby's impact extends beyond statistical measurement.
The frequency with which professional basketball players rashly pass the ball due to Wemby’s presence is … unusual, to say the least. In a recent podcast episode, Zach Lowe emphasized Wemby’s league-leading ability to cause an “Uh Oh” moment, where a player, mid-air, realizes they can’t shoot because Wemby is closing in on them.
While Suns fans might prefer to look away, as many highlights are against their beloved team, for everyone else, here’s a six-minute highlight reel of Victor’s first five NBA games. I’ve been watching it on repeat since this morning.
After consecutive games against the Spurs, Kevin Durant candidly described what it’s like to defend Wemby, and admitted that there aren’t many strategies beyond contesting and hoping for a miss.
sitting here with a smile on my face pic.twitter.com/VwZmgOfdAW— dylan (@dylangonzalez21) November 4, 2023
However, our fellow Toronto Raptors media members claim to have designed the perfect strategy!
The assignment: combine 2 Raptors to guard #PorVida phenom Victor Wembanyama.— Sportsnet 590 The FAN (@FAN590) November 3, 2023
@william_lou, @BlakeMurphyODC & @steven_lebron make their picks on @TheRaptorsShow
Despite the playful banter, Raptor fans can anticipate a difficult matchup on Sunday. With injured Devin Vessel averaging 19.4 points and 13.4 field goal attempts per game, Wemby might be taking an even larger role on offense.
A difficult prospect for opponents to consider.