There was no need to overreact.
Victor Wembanyama took over in his second Summer League game in Las Vegas on Sunday night. Though it wasn’t quite enough to lead the San Antonio Spurs to the win — the Portland Trail Blazers won 85-80 at the Thomas & Mack Center — the French phenom looked so much more comfortable on the court.
Wembanyama dropped 27 points and had 12 rebounds and three blocks. He shot 9-of-14 from the field, and 2-of-4 from behind the arc.
The Spurs took Wembanyama with the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA Draft last month, which made him the first-ever No. 1 overall pick from France. The 7-foot-4 center has long been touted as the best NBA prospect since LeBron James. He’s coming off an international season where he was named the French LNB Pro A League MVP after leading the league in points, rebounds and blocks.
Wembanyama was thrust into the spotlight immediately upon arrival in Las Vegas, even getting into a bit of a controversy with pop star Britney Spears. His debut on Friday was just the second time a Summer League session was sold out ahead of time, and NBA legends like Jerry West and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar were in attendance. ESPN kept showing live look-ins of Wembanyama warming up during the game ahead of his, too.
Yet, Wembanyama’s debut was a little disappointing. He scored just nine points with eight rebounds and five blocks. He shot 2-of-13 from the field, which is about 15%. Sunday, however, was very different.
Wembanyama got off to a slow start once again, but so did everyone on the court. The Trail Blazers took a 19-8 lead after the first quarter. Wembanyama, after missing a pair of free throws, then hit a midrange jumper to get on the board early in the quarter.
It wasn’t until the second quarter that Wembanyama finally looked comfortable. He finished the half with 11 points, easily surpassing his points total from Friday, and had little issue dominating the floor. There was one sequence where he came up with a block on one end and then quickly threw down a dunk on the other.
He also came up with a ridiculous putback slam through a Trail Blazers defender.
Wembanyama carried that over into the second half, and even flexed a bit after putting back his own miss through Trail Blazers center Ibou Badji while drawing a foul.
Wembanyama added six points in the third quarter, though the Spurs entered the final break trailing by 14.
The Spurs then mounted a huge comeback in the fourth quarter, capped by a Wembanyama 3-pointer just under the two-minute mark to cut the game back to a single point. But that was as close as they got. The Trail Blazers held on to take the five-point win, which brought both teams to a 1-1 record in Summer League.
Dominick Barlow added 17 points for the Spurs in the loss. Blake Wesley finished with 14 points. Those two, along with Wembanyama, were the only Spurs players to score in double figures.
Michael Devoe led the Trail Blazers with 29 points while shooting 10-of-17 from the field. Jabari Walker finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds, and Duop Rupert added 13 points and nine rebounds off the bench.