Victor Wembanyama draws Nikola Jokic-level praise from Nuggets’ Michael Malone

Michael Malone compared the impact Victor Wembanyama has on the Spurs to that of Nikola Jokic’s on the reigning champion Nuggets.

Nuggets' head coach holding a mirror in front of Spurs' Victor Wembanyama, but with Nikola Jokic as the reflection

On Tuesday night, fans were treated to a heavyweight clash between two of the best centers in the NBA today, Nikola Jokic and Victor Wembanyama. Wembanyama is becoming the rare player whom opposing fans flock in droves to see, and even though the San Antonio Spurs were shorthanded, they still put up a strong fight. In the end, it was Jokic’s veteran nous that won out over Wembanyama’s youthful verve, with the Denver Nuggets taking a 110-105 win at home.

Wembanyama had another monster two-way game; he nearly dropped a quadruple-double, putting up 23 points, 15 rebounds, eight assists, and nine blocks. This defensive masterclass is what sets the Spurs rookie apart from his peers. In fact, Nuggets head coach Michael Malone, despite the obvious differences in Wembanyama and Jokic’s games, compared the impact the Spurs rookie has on his team to that of the reigning Finals MVP’s.

“What you see in both of them, again, different players in terms of athleticism, length, and all that. [But] what you’re seeing more and more from Victor is his ability to make each and every one of his teammates better. That is a common theme amongst all great players throughout the history of this great game,” Malone said in his postgame presser, per Ryan Blackburn of Mile High Sports.

Victor Wembanyama is only 20 years old, and yet the way his contemporaries and coaches talk about him make it seem as if he’s been in the league forever. The Spurs rookie is rapidly improving, and the Nuggets witnessed that firsthand on Tuesday night.

Victor Wembanyama, the final evolution of the unicorn archetype

In 2015, Kristaps Porzingis entered the league as a marvel; he not only protected the rim at a high level, he was also an efficient volume shooter from beyond the arc. And then in the coming years, Nuggets star Nikola Jokic seemed to have perfected that mold; Jokic did not have the vertical impact of Porzingis, but his elite playmaking and buttery touch from all three levels made him an elite offense onto his own.

But now, Victor Wembanyama might be the Charizard to Porzingis’ Charmander and Jokic’s Charmeleon. Nuggets head coach Michael Malone pointed out how rapidly the Spurs rookie has fleshed out his playmaking skills, as seen in his eight dimes (against just two turnovers) on Tuesday night.

“Everybody talks about the blocks, the dunks, the threes. The last 5 games he’s averaging almost six assists per game. And really good passes. You can tell he’s got a flair, understands how to play, and can make his teammates better,” Malone added, per Tom Orsborn of San Antonio Express-News.

Victor Wembanyama may be combining Kristaps Porzingis’ outside marksmanship, Nikola Jokic’s court vision and playmaking, as well as Rudy Gobert’s defensive instincts into one package, all the while being 7’4 and possessing the capability of moving like he’s six to seven inches smaller. The league better be trembling in fear of the thought of the player Wembanyama is going to become.

It’s still Nikola Jokic’s time

Even though Victor Wembanyama will be taking over the league soon enough, it’s Nikola Jokic who still reigns supreme among the centers in the NBA. Jokic is the main reason why no one is daring to bet against the Nuggets in the upcoming playoffs.

Jokic is flanked with players who accentuate his talents and cover for his weaknesses; even though Jamal Murray was out, the Nuggets still had more than enough talent to hold off a Spurs team that was fighting for its life despite being shorthanded. Denver is still in prime position to capitalize on its title window, just in time before Wembanyama is mature enough to secure Western Conference supremacy for years to come.

Related Posts

Our Privacy policy - © 2024 News