On Christmas Day, The Athletic’s David Aldridge wrote a compelling article that drew parallels between four veteran NBA stars and Victor Wembanyama’s challenging rookie season. Among the four players discussed, Joel Embiid’s insights stirred notable interest within the NBA media, igniting an intriguing debate: Should Wembanyama aspire to excel as a guard or a big man?
“Do you want to become KD, or do you want to become me? Not KD, or a version of those guys — you want to combine everything. Right now, I just feel like everything kind of feels a little forced in the way that he’s playing.”
Given Wemby’s towering size and expansive wingspan, conventional wisdom might assume Victor should thrive as a big man in the NBA. However, the rookie’s unique skill set, remarkable agility, and adept dribbling abilities prompt a compelling argument. In a recent podcast episode Smartless, featuring Jason Bateman and company with guest Steph Curry, the four-time NBA champion endorsed Wembanyama’s skills, similar to a point guard, emphasizing the impressive smoothness of his dribbling.
In a drill where many non-point guards struggle, Wembanyama excels, showcasing his exceptional talent. Yet, despite this impressive display, his statistical numbers this season seem to advocate for Wemby as a big man. According to Cleaning the Glass, Wemby has played 46% of his minutes as a center and 54% as a power forward. His usage rate spikes by 3.0% at center, positioning him in the 98th percentile for his position. Additionally, he scores 17.3 more points per 100 possessions at center than at power forward.
His success isn’t solely limited to individual performance; the team’s anticipated wins surge from 13 to 22 when he anchors the team at the center position. However, the debate persists. While initial statistics lean towards his proficiency at the center, it’s pivotal to prioritize long-term development. He’s shown a glimpse of brilliance, displaying his ability to shoot, dribble, and carve his unique style of basketball.
Wemby won’t emulate KD, Embiid, or any other player—he’s carving his own position, becoming a unique and unprecedented force in the league for years to come.
The rookie shared a year-end post on Instagram, featuring some of his best photos of 2023. You can click here to check it out.
He also showcased his strong family ties in a recent tweet on January 1.
Literally just me making my parents proud, but still my hardest pic of 2023 pic.twitter.com/6SkoGoMyoZ— Wemby (@wemby) January 1, 2024
Despite Victor’s limited playing time, his on-court performance remains very impressive.
Wemby this season:— WembyMuse (@Wemby_Muse) January 2, 2024
— 1st in BPG
— 15th in RPG
— 32nd in SPG
And 105th in minutes per game. pic.twitter.com/92rS7nOwEz
While statistics per 36 minutes should be taken cautiously, they hint at Wemby’s potential impact with increased playing time.
Victor Wembanyama Per 36 Min Stats since being put on minutes restriction— (@brayknowball) January 1, 2024
Can’t wait to see him fully healthy and off minute restriction again #GoSpursGo #PorVida pic.twitter.com/K7IAmZwJKE
Wembanyama continues to dominate among teens in yet another category.