Spurs Notes: Wembanyama, Vassell, Champagnie, Johnson

Victor Wembanyama has been playing in pickup games with his Spurs teammates for several weeks, but sometimes they’re still amazed by what he can do, writes Andrew Lopez of ESPN. The French rookie’s unique combination of size and skill was on display Friday night against Miami as he posted 23 points, four rebounds, four assists and three blocks in 23 minutes.

Included in those points were a couple of spectacular plays that demonstrate how Wembanyama can transform San Antonio’s offense. One came late in the first half on a give-and-go with Tre Jones where Wembanyama leaped for a pass and easily slammed it with two hands.

“Towards me, the problem is rarely that the ball is thrown too high,” Wembanyama said. “It only comes down to how well we know each other.”

Wembanyama also thrilled the crowd by catching a fast-break pass just inside the three-point line and using a Eurostep to get to the basket without dribbling.

“He is going to make special plays,” Devin Vassell said. “I’m going to keep talking about it, he is going to make a play every game where you just look down like what the heck just happened.”

There’s more from San Antonio:

  • Vassell is already figuring out how his game can improve by having a weapon like Wembanyama, according to Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News. Vassell was 6-of-7 on three-point shots Friday night, with two of them coming directly off assists from the big man. “With Vic, it makes the game so easy,” said Vassell, who recently signed a five-year extension. “As soon as he rolls and pops, he has so much attention that we are just wide open on the kickout. The thing is just him trusting us and us trusting him and us just building chemistry off of that.”
  • Julian Champagnie is trying to win a roster spot with the Spurs while his twin brother Justin Champagnie is doing the same with the Heat, and it marked a rare occurrence when they were on the court at the same time on Friday, Orsborn adds. The twins said the only other time they have faced each other was in a G League game last season.
  • Keldon Johnson missed his second straight preseason game due to concerns over lingering hamstring soreness, Orsborn states in a separate story. Johnson has been able to practice, but the Spurs are being careful about using him in games. “We know what Keldon can do,” Doug McDermott said. “He will be ready once his body tells him he is ready. But he is still the same Keldon. He is going to be aggressive going to the rim. His jumper looks great as well and he has been a great leader for us in the locker room.”
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