Who knew one picture could set the basketball world on fire?
Victor Wembanyama posted a picture from his dinner with Sean Elliott, David Robinson, Manu Ginobili, Tim Duncan and Gregg Popovich (not pictured, or rather, photo creds?) on Saturday. Instantly, the basketball world began speculating what may have been discussed at the meeting. What kind of basketball knowledge could one person learn sitting around a table with some of the game’s greats?
Thanks to Elliott, fans don’t need to speculate too much. In an interview with Dan Patrick from NBC Sports, he revealed some of the topics discussed at that legendary dinner.
“He’s a very mature young man,” Elliott told Patrick. “He asked all of the right questions. We all came away from that dinner even more excited and enthusiastic than we’d ever been.
Elliott said that they felt a real reverence from Wembanyama for the legends that came before him. He specifically mentioned that seeing Tim Duncan (who he described as a “Howard Hughes” type) made him wide eyed. Popovich and the Spurs organization organized the dinner, according to Elliott. He said the main goal was for Wembanyama to learn.
“(He asked) questions about how to prepare your body, how to rest, what the travel schedule is like,” Elliott said. “He asked us all ‘how can you get enough sleep on the road?’ What kind of young person asks that question? Most guys are like, ‘what’s the best club to go to in Philly or New York?’”
He also said that Wembanyama expressed interest in playing as many games as possible. He praised the 19-year-old for his focus on the correct diet, rest and workout habits that are essential to holding up for an 82-game NBA season. He mentioned that Tim Duncan and David Robinson didn’t read “the superstar handbook” and weren’t focus on individual accolades. According to Elliott, Wembanyama fits into that mold perfectly.
Patrick, of course, brought up the expectations that would immediately be put on Wemby from fans and the media. Elliott told him that Victor reminds him of Stephan Curry. He is comfortable in his own skin and won’t let the pressure of unrealistic outside expectations get to him. His expectations for himself are high enough as is.
As for the expectations the Spurs have for Wembanyama’s rookie year? Elliott calls them realistic.
“He’s 19 years old,” he said. “He’s going to have to have an adjustment to the NBA. It’s not going to be easy... I’m thinking we are going to be a much better team because of him, he’s going to make everyone else better.”
Elliott said that not even Popovich is looking at Wemby’s development in terms of wins and losses, but rather him getting better, and developing a foundation for the team going forward. He expects the team to improve defensively right away with Wembanyama’s ability to defend inside in out, and praised his ability to alter shots at all areas of the floor.
Fans will get a chance to witness the beginning of Wembanyama’s development this summer. They may not learn as much as a dinner with Spurs legends, but they will be in on the ground floor of the new era of San Antonio basketball.