Victor Wimbanyama was wandering the halls of the Footprint Heart after the very best sport of his brief NBA profession when he handed 13-time All-Star Kevin Durant and stopped for a fast handshake and hug.
Some say the 7-foot-4 Frenchman is a taller model of Durant.
Durant’s first impression is that the budding San Antonio Spurs star could be higher.
“His enthusiasm for the sport — you possibly can inform that from TV and taking part in towards him,” Durant stated. “He is his personal participant, his personal individual. He’ll create his personal lane and he is rather a lot completely different than anybody else he is performed.”
In simply his fifth NBA sport, the 19-year-old Wimpanyama confirmed why he is likely one of the hottest prospects in years, scoring 38 factors and grabbing 10 rebounds in a standout efficiency in a 132-121 win over Durant and Phoenix. Thursday evening solar.
Wembanyama produced a number of spotlight performs within the sport, together with a hovering dunk whereas operating the ground throughout the second quarter. However it was his poise within the fourth quarter that actually opened his eyes.
The Spurs led by 27 factors within the first half and nonetheless had a 14-point lead getting into the fourth quarter earlier than the Suns rallied to tie the rating at 116 with 4 minutes left. That is when Wembanyama took over, because the precocious rookie made three 3-pointers, three free throws and a dunk and 18-foot jumper to propel the Spurs to a 12-0 run to seal the win.
Wimbanyama shot 15 of 26 from the sphere and added two assists, two blocks and a steal to assist the Spurs full a two-game sweep in Phoenix. He stated the sport additionally taught him an vital lesson.
“I’d say a 20-point lead is nothing,” Wembanyama stated. “It really works each methods. It is also one thing we have seen at FIBA once we’re taking part in Crew USA or scouting the USA. You could possibly be up 15 and within the blink of an eye fixed you are down by one and you do not know what occurred as a result of they ran the assault like loopy and acquired On some defensive stops.
“So, yeah, it is the identical within the NBA.”
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich stated Wimpanyama’s power is that he’s unselfish however can even take cost of the sport when wanted.
“He is a multi-faceted participant, he’ll get the ball to the open participant,” Popovich stated. “He is acquired confidence in himself. He made some performs that had been unbelievable. That mixture is superb.”
He definitely has just a few followers on the Suns crew. Three-time All-Star Devin Booker and Durant each spoke extremely of the rookie.
“He is an unbelievable expertise,” Booker stated. “Everybody is aware of this. We’re simply attempting to determine who he’s as a result of we have by no means seemed like him earlier than. We acquired him at the start of the season. Hopefully, subsequent time we play him, we will make some changes to make it tougher. However he has the benefit of being 7 -4 The power to shoot above everybody else.
This function is just not going away any time quickly.
And if Thursday evening is any indication, Wimbanyama is the rising NBA star many have predicted.
“I do not see anybody else like him on this sport,” Durant stated. “We’re each skinny and I do know he watched me develop up, however he is his personal participant.”