A new look and new history for transcendent rookie Victor Wembanyama.
The first overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft produced a historic stat line on Monday, posting 27 points, 14 rebounds and 10 blocks to record a rarely seen triple-double in a 122-99 San Antonio Spurs win over the Toronto Raptors.
A triple-double – when a player produces three statistics in double-figures in a game – is most commonly achieved by combining points, rebounds and assists, though Wembanyama’s dominance on the defensive end saw him become only the 26th player in league history to achieve this feat with double-digit blocks, per the NBA.
He arrived at the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto in a distinctive pregame outfit, wearing a ski mask and goggles that completely obscured his face. His mysterious look turned heads – ‘Wemby en mode Spider-Man Noir,’ quipped one X user – though it was his on-court performance that left people talking by the time the final buzzer sounded.
The French phenom also followed in the footsteps of legendary Spurs big man David Robinson, as he became the first rookie to record a triple-double with blocked shots since Robinson did it three times in the 1989/90 season, per Reuters.
“It’s great company to have my name next to him,” Wembanyama told reporters after the game. “It counts even more because it’s family, it’s from the Spurs.”
This was Wembanyama’s second NBA triple-double after posting 16 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists in January.
The 20-year-old also five assists on the night, making him the only the third player, alongside Robinson and Hall-of-Famer Hakeem Olajuwon in the last 40 years to have at least 25 points, 10 rebounds, 10 blocks and five assists in a single game, according to StatMuse.
Wembanyama, who shot 10-for-14 from the field on Monday, leads the league in blocks per game at 3.2 and told the media that his suffocating interior defense is having an effect on how offenses challenge him at the rim.
“It’s getting harder to block shots - I had to make an extra effort because less and less people go at me,” he said after the game. “Intimidation, I can see it happening.”
His 10th block came halfway through the fourth quarter, swatting away a layup attempt from fellow rookie Gradey Dick, who led the Raptors in scoring with 18 points off the bench.
After much success in the previous two decades, the franchise is in rebuilding era that is focused on the development of Wembanyama. Despite the victory, the Spurs remain rooted to the bottom of the Western Conference with an 11-43 record.
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