However, on Thursday, the 19-year-old finally gave fans something to drool over as he led the Phoenix Suns to a 132-121 rout while playing his most complete game to date.
Scoring a career-high 38 points, Wembanyama tied for the third-most by a rookie in Spurs history.
Only Hall of Famer David Robinson scored more points in a game in his first season.
Here are five takeaways from the matchup:
Victor Wembanyama takes over
As he left the crowded post-game interview area, Wembanyama ducked his head to avoid the doorframe, paused at his locker, and took a big swallow from a clear plastic bottle.
Wemby showing off his handle pregame tonight 👀
Crazy finesse at 7’4″.
📺: Spurs-Suns | Live on NBA TV pic.twitter.com/jMbIBpbeKX
— NBA (@NBA) November 3, 2023
The rookie certainly earned the hydration after dousing Phoenix’s rally attempt from a 27-point deficit.
With 4:21 left, former Spur Keita Bates-Diop drilled a 23-footer, knotting the score at 116.
With 1:35 left, Wembanyama scored 10 of San Antonio’s next 12 points, making the score 128-116 on an 18-foot turnaround jumper.
Twelve seconds later, fans at Footprint Center started heading towards the exits.
“Somebody’s got to do it,” the rookie said of his fourth-quarter takeover.
In the last quarter, Wembanyama not only pulled down three boards but also scored a block and went 3-for-4 from the field. In the fourth quarters of his first five games (his fifth in the NBA), he has now scored a total of 39 points on 15-for-19 shooting.
In addition, Wembanyama made NBA history by being the eighth player to record at least 35 rebounds, 10 blocks, and 85 points or more in his first five career games.
Wembanyama started fast, too
The Spurs-Suns series began on Tuesday, and Wembanyama broke his recent trend of sluggish starts in the second game. The Spurs won 115-114.
With five rebounds, two assists, a block, a steal, and a game-high 20 points on 8 of 14 shooting, the youngster lit up the scoreboard in the first half. Along with going 2-for-3 on threes, there were a few highlight dunks.
Interestingly, Wembanyama entered this one averaging 5.3 points on 28% shooting in the first halves of the club’s first four contests.
Wembanyama made history on the defensive end by becoming one of just three teens (Kevin Durant and LeBron James are the others) to record 35 or more points, 10 or more rebounds, and two blocks in a single game.
In addition to the fast start, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich ensured Wembanyama would finish strong, too.
Popovich remarked, “We had him and Zach [Collins] play together in the last three minutes or so.” “We simply performed the same play repeatedly. We did, however, receive a couple stops at the other end at the same moment.
Brilliant Devin Booker return spoiled
Devin Booker came back and scorched San Antonio, which helped the Suns overcome a 27-point hole. After suffering a damaged left ankle in the season opener, the 27-year-old made a comeback and scored a team-high 31 points.
After Phoenix’s defeat against his team just two days earlier, Popovich joked about Booker’s availability on Thursday. “See, they go and lose a game [and this happens].” He informed me that he would be gone for a week. What an idiot.
KD baseline, stepback, bucket.
Talk about a high release 👀
📺 Spurs/Suns- WATCH NOW on TNT pic.twitter.com/Kgllq7Myss
— NBA (@NBA) November 1, 2023
Booker, along with Durant, helped the Suns mount a significant comeback attempt to cut into the Spurs’ sizable advantage. Despite coming back from a 27-point hole, Phoenix ended the game with a meager 1-for-7 shooting effort.
Booker completed his 16th career game with at least 30 points and 10 assists in 35 minutes of play. In 37 minutes, Durant scored 28 points, pulled down six rebounds, and blocked two shots.
The loss marked Durant’s fourth consecutive game with at least 25 points.
Varied experiences continue to mold young Spurs
San Antonio had the better of the majority of its first-round loss to Dallas before Luka Doncic’s clutch plays and late-game execution proved fatal. After that, in Game 2, the Spurs bounced back, defeating the Houston Rockets in overtime.
A blowout road loss to the LA Clippers followed.
Both teams experienced extremes as a result of the two matches in Phoenix. Tuesday, the Spurs pulled off a 20-point comeback victory thanks to clutch play in the closing minutes.
After Booker returned to the team two days later, they had a 27-point lead and had to battle in the fourth quarter to keep the Suns from pulling away.
Popovich remarked, “We all go through those experiences, trials, and tribulations and you learn from it.” “You have to be in there when the lights go on, make mistakes, and then figure it out.” We took a gut hit [late] after taking the lead. We persevered there.
The challenges that San Antonio overcame “was the best part of the game,” according to Popovich, “for a young team that needs to learn.”
The Spurs had their first 20-point lead of the season late in the first quarter, leading 39–18 thanks to a 3-pointer by Devin Vassell.
Popovich calls Walter Davis ‘one of the great ones’
Just before tip-off on Thursday, Popovich received word of the demise of former guard-forward Walter Davis of the Phoenix Suns, about 90 minutes in advance.
The coach remarked, “He was one of the great ones, especially here in Phoenix for sure.” Fantastic athlete and a nice person. I regret learning that.
In a statement, North Carolina, where Davis played collegiately under coach Dean Smith, stated that the former Tar Heel passed away from natural causes.
The Suns, meanwhile, held a moment of silence in honor of Davis before tipoff.
The No. 5 overall pick of the Suns in 1977, and a six-time NBA All-Star, Davis won NBA Rookie of the Year in his debut season with an average of 24.2 points per game. 11 of Davis’ 16 seasons were spent with Phoenix, where his No. 6 jersey was retired in 2004.
Tottenham, London, United Kingdom
Boris Diaw played 4 seasons for the Phoenix Suns (17.2 Win Shares) and 5 seasons for the San Antonio Spurs (17.9 Win Shares).
Tim Duncan (since 1997). All Tim Duncan has accomplished since being selected first overall in the 1997 NBA draft is win four championships, three MVPs in the postseason, two league MVPs, Rookie of the Year, selection to fourteen NBA and NBA All-Defensive teams, participation in fourteen All-Star games, and selection as the MVP of an All-Star game.
The franchise has won NBA championships in 1999, 2003, 2005, 2007, and 2014. As of the 2022–23 season, the Spurs had the highest winning percentage among active NBA franchises.