I follow a lot of people on Twitter who are Spurs fans or Spurs media or who just, in general, exist within the wider San Antonio Universe. That particular universe has recently given over to full Wembanyamania™ in the light of this season mercifully coming to a close. Why not? What else are we supposed to do besides delight in the fantasy of all this hard work finally paying off in the form of a 7’2” freak of nature rolling into the Alamo City next season and returning the franchise to it’s former glory?
The other day though, I saw something in my aimless scroll on the Bird app that chilled me to my bones. A Pistons fan! That’s right, and honest to God person from the city of Detroit who is a fan of their basketball team. This, on it’s own, is nothing to be alarmed about, but on this particular day everyone was all aflutter about a highlight of Wembanyama taking a step back three and the gracefully loping into the lane for a put-back dunk of his own miss. Did you see this? Did you catch this?
I can’t stop watching this pic.twitter.com/9ZPMFfeaXM— Kevin O'Connor (@KevinOConnorNBA) April 2, 2023
Yea. Everyone was, rightfully, freaking out.
Lost in all the madness was this guy. This Pistons fan. He did something so evil and so twisted that I can hardly wrap my brain around it. You want to know what he did? He logged on and simply tweeted out the names of the Pistons potential starting lineup next year:
G - Cade Cunningham
G - Jaden Ivey
F - Victor Wembenyama
F/C - James Wiseman
C - Jalen Duren
The audacity! I mean, who does he think he is? Putting that tall Frenchman into a lineup that isn’t the San Antonio Spurs should be illegal. I was almost ready to scroll past it and move on with my day, but then something weird happened. I couldn’t shake it. It jut got me thinking that, like, he can’t be the only one, right? There’s probably at least a dozen other Pistons fans who think Victor might be coming their way instead of our way. Now, if that’s true then, I mean, there might even be fans of the Rockets who are laboring under the delusion that Victor will be in Houston next year. Is that right? Have people lost their grip on reality this much? Surely there aren’t other lottery bound teams harboring a notion that they will be the ones blessed by the ping pong ball deities this summer, right? RIGHT?
I thought about this Pistons fan a lot while watching the kids get pushed around in Phoenix last night. The Spurs have done everything in their power to give themselves the absolute best chance to win this stupid lottery and yet...so have two other teams. Heck, Charlotte, Portland, Indiana...everyone realistically has a shot at getting lucky. It’s just so unsettling how little control we have over anything. We can’t determine our own destiny. We can’t put anymore effort into it. We just have to sit around and wait. And wait. And wait some more.
I’m glad I saw that Pistons fan the other day. It was a good reminder that, amidst all the mania, there’s still a really good chance that we’re going to be stuck with plan B or C. Our reality very much could see Victor Wembanyama teaming up with Cade Cunningham and co. in Detroit while the Spurs will be left with nothing but a promising young core and another season of playing the odds. It won’t be the end of the world or anything, but it’s hard not to imagine the existential blow that anything besides the Number 1 pick would deliver right to our gut.
It makes it easier to watch games like this one in Phoenix when you feel like we might be getting close to the end of our journey through the wilderness. When you consider the reality that we actually have no idea where we are in this little expedition then it can start to feel pretty dark and cold out here.
- Still pretty surreal to see Kevin Durant in a Suns jersey. Obviously, there’s so much player movement these days that it’s not a total mind warp anymore to see the jersey swap, but this is Kevin Durant! THE Kevin Durant. I was still adjusting to him as a Warrior and now he’s on his 4th team? And playing with Chris Paul? In Phoenix? Anyway. Totally unrelated but I’m sure when we draft Wembanyama that everything will be great and he’ll play in San Antonio for his whole career and we’ll win 5 more championships with him. Nothing to see here. No YOU’RE having an existential crisis.
- I’m glad to see Tre Jones playing well again. There was a minute there this season where you could briefly see a glimpse of what his future as the starting point guard could be for a good Spurs team and I liked that glimpse. He’s fast and smart and can score when he needs to. He’s the perfect type of competent complimentary player that the Spurs should want on a team that’s, you know, trying to win ball games hopefully. I know it’s not 100% certain Tre will be with us next year but I really hope he is.
- Is Sandro Mamukelashvili someone I want to devote my entire life to? I think it’s in the cards. His box score doesn’t really pop that much but every time he’s on the court I find myself drawn to him. It’s like he has a tractor beam that sucks in sad boys like me who are freaking out about the future of the Spurs during a late season telecast. “Oh, are you sad?” he seems to say. “Well watch me do a spin move for no reason.” Then I watch him do a spin move and it lights me up. It gets me going. I’m ready to believe again. The Cult of Sandro is real.
put 'em in a spin cycle pic.twitter.com/TpovU9zWZb— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) April 5, 2023
WWL Post Game Press Conference
- Do you think it’s better to hope for the best and prepare for the worst or just lean into preparing for the best and then dealing with the consequences later?
- There’s advantages to both. Obviously, it’s a smart play to prepare for the worst but it’s also significantly less fun. What’s that old adage about worrying and losing twice? or something?
- When you worry, you suffer twice.
- Right, so like, the way I see it, it’s not my job to prepare a plan for the Spurs if they don’t get Wembanyama. In fact, I have zero responsibilities there whatsoever. So why should I spend time worrying about it? I should just simply indulge in the fantasy while I still can that the Tall French Teen is going to ride in here on a white horse and save us from having to watch bad basketball.
- That seems totally fair and smart and also, like, pretty much the opposite of what you wrote up there?
- Well. Yea, I mean. It’s one thing to tell yourself that you shouldn’t have an existential crisis. It’s another thing to sit here and actually not have one.
- Thats not a switch you can just flip?
- Not as of yet, no.
- Did you really trademark Wembanyamania?
- It’s in the works. LOT of red tape, turns out. Doesn’t hurt to call your shot though.