If you were slightly disappointed by mega-prospect Victor Wembanyama's NBA debut, don't be.
Sometimes great things have very humble beginnings. The first overall pick showed some clear yet understandable growing pains on opening day against the in-state rival Mavericks, but his stat line was evocative of that from the debut of a veritable Spurs and NBA legend in Tim Duncan.
Wemby and Tim Duncan's debut stat-lines...
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— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) October 26, 2023
They did it a bit differently- Wembanyama hit an impressive three of his five shots from three point range and no free throws, while Duncan didn't attempt a three and scored three points from the line- but the basis of their output is stunningly similar. 15 points each on six field goals out of nine attempts and a pair of assists is a solid debut for a big man, although Duncan's 10 rebounds put his debut in a different tier than Wembanyama's five.
Wembanyama's struggles with turnovers and personal fouls are another interesting lens through which to compare and contrast his debut with Duncan's. He had five of each, while Duncan was only charged with two fouls, although he did commit four turnovers as well, a classic rookie tendency to which both fell victim.
The comparisons between Wembanyama and Duncan aren't going away any time soon; both were picked first overall, after an uncharacteristic down year for a usually rock-solid San Antonio organization. Duncan was hailed as the successor to San Antonio legend David Robinson, while Wembanyama is of course stepping into the shadow of Duncan himself.
Duncan had one of the great careers in NBA history, as he won five championships, three finals MVPs, two regular season MVPS, and was named to a stunning 10 All-NBA First Teams. The belief, however optimistic, is that Wembanyama at least has the potential to achieve such things, and while he's a long way away, it seems that he's gotten off to an auspicious start. We'll have to keep following along as his rookie season progresses, and see if he wins Rookie of the Year, just like Duncan did.
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