Victor Wembanyama’s Spurs ascension sparks scary Nicolas Batum warning

An NBA player who knows him well issues warning to the league about Victor Wembanyama

Nicolas Batum with mind-blown head. Victor Wembanyama with smoke coming out his nose and ears

Include Philadelphia 76ers forward and fellow Frenchman Nicolas Batum among NBA regulars who are not only impressed by San Antonio Spurs phenom Victor Wembanyama but are also sending warnings to future opponents.

Following his team’s 133-126 double overtime victory at the Frost Bank Center, Batum shared what he’d just witnessed regarding the generational talent who scored 33 points and grabbed 18 rebounds, in also relying on his knowledge of the French 20-year-old.

“I’ve known that kid for a long time. Nobody’s shocked. The only thing is, I didn’t think he would do all that in year one. He’s a special man,” the veteran forward said.

“There was a quote from [Gregg Popovich] that said something like this is [Wembanyama’s] worst season. That is the scary part. This may be the worst [Wembanyama] we’re going to see for the next 15 or so years. So, I’m glad I won that one tonight. I don’t know how easy it will be to win again in the future.”

At 35 years old, Batum may be on to something.

Nicolas Batum says Victor Wembanyama in ‘perfect spot’

Victor Wembanyama facing off against Nicolas Batum

Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports

Hailed as the best prospect the NBA–maybe all of sports–had seen since LeBron James, Wemby has averaged 21.3 points, 10.7 rebounds and a league-leading 3.6 blocks per game as a rookie. He’s put up those numbers in under 30 minutes per contest for the better part of the year. And they’ve gotten better as the season’s gone along.

“Up there (pointing to his head), he knows. He knows who he is, he knows what he can become, and he knows how to do it,” Batum said.

“He’s in the perfect spot for that. The entities, his entourage around him, he’s got everything around him set up to be great. Everything is set up for him to be who we think he can become, and now it’s just up to him,” the 16th-year forward continued.

The top pick in last summer’s draft has won the the last three Rookie of the Month awards in the Western Conference. His candidacy for the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year is also picking up steam with statistics that surpass another French basketball star who’s won the award three times.

“I won’t say it’s new but I would say I’m trying to get the best of these positions and get rid of the worst,” Wemby shared regarding the continued work on his game through this first season.

It’s another set of French natives, though, who Wemby focuses on when it comes to his settling in.

“They’ve been a part of something we’ll never really be able to measure,” the Spurs leading scorer says of the entourage Batum mentioned. “A great, great part of it. I think I couldn’t have been in better conditions.

“I think I’m very, very lucky and trying to pay that off every day by giving one hundred percent and surpassing everything, expectations. Anything they could expect from me, I’m trying to make it even better for them.”

Victor Wembanyama already has. And as Batum notes, he’s just getting started.

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