May 24, 2024

Final summer time, the San Antonio Spurs drafted probably the most thrilling prospects in latest historical past — Victor Wembanyama. 

The rookie has already created some spotlight reel-worthy performs this season, and he added some jaw-dropping moments to his resume throughout Thursday’s sport towards the Milwaukee Bucks. 

The sport additionally marked the French phenom’s first matchup with two-time NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Bucks celebrity completed the excessive anticipated first assembly with 44 factors and 14 rebounds, whereas the Spurs rookie had 27 factors and 9 rebounds.

After the sport, Antetokounmpo praised Wembanyama’s distinctive ability set. “He’s particular,” Antetokounmpo mentioned. “He’s going to be an especially good participant. He performs the correct method. He performs to win. I’ve by no means seen something like him.”

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Milwaukee Bucks ahead Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) loses management of the ball whereas driving to the basket towards San Antonio Spurs ahead Victor Wembanyama (1) throughout the first half at Frost Financial institution Heart. (Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports activities)

Wembanyama, who additionally celebrated his twentieth birthday on Thursday, mentioned he grew up admiring Antetokounmpo’s sport. He mentioned taking part in towards somebody of Antetokounmpo’s caliber fuels his motivation. 

“It’s at all times additional motivation, and I do know I’m a competitor,” Wembanyama mentioned. “So I need to go at everybody and be the unhealthy man on the court docket. So it was an ideal matchup.”

BUCKS’ GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO GIVES ‘FREAKY’ ANSWER TO QUESTION ABOUT LOSSES TO PACERS

The Spurs solely managed to win 22 video games throughout the 2022-23 NBA season and landed the highest decide within the draft. Regardless of Wembanyama’s spectacular play, San Antonio’s woes have carried over into this season. Thursday’s 125-121 loss to the Bucks dropped the Spurs report to 5-29. 

Just one workforce, the Detroit Pistons, has received fewer video games to date this season. The Pistons lately snapped a report 28-game dropping streak. 

Bucks star Damian Lillard additionally delivered a powerful efficiency, scoring 25 factors and committing zero turnovers.

Victor Wembanyama, #1 of the San Antonio Spurs, blocks a shot throughout the sport towards the Milwaukee Bucks on January 4, 2024, on the Frost Financial institution Heart in San Antonio, Texas. (Michael Gonzales/NBAE by way of Getty Pictures)

First-year Bucks coach Adrian Griffin mentioned the matchup between Antetokounmpo and Wembanyama was particular.

“Two of probably the most distinctive, proficient large males,” Griffin mentioned. “I exploit that [big-man] loosely as a result of they’re very versatile gamers. Man, that was enjoyable. I assumed Wemby was nice. I assumed Giannis was phenomenal.”

Victor Wembanyama smiles before a game

Victor Wembanyama #1 of the San Antonio Spurs smiles earlier than the sport towards the Milwaukee Bucks on January 4, 2024, on the Frost Financial institution Heart in San Antonio, Texas. (Logan Riely/NBAE by way of Getty Pictures)

Three-time All-Star Khris Middleton additionally lauded the Spurs rookie for his fearlessness. 

“To be competing, not petrified of the second,” Middleton mentioned. “Not petrified of taking the shot and making a transfer or making a move or simply taking an opportunity in a detailed sport, particularly late within the sport. You possibly can inform that he’s not petrified of the second. He loves the problem. That’s going to be large for him going ahead.”

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Wembanyama famous that the expertise of going up towards a championship-caliber workforce could possibly be useful for the Spurs going ahead.

“It’s promising,” Wembanyama mentioned. “That’s the very first thing [Spurs coach Gregg Popovich] informed us coming again within the locker room. We had some moments within the sport the place all the pieces appeared to work. And I might really feel the gang believing in us and getting going. A few of this was satisfying tonight.”

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