Spurs Notes: Wembanyama, Vassell, K. Johnson, Wesley, Paris

As Victor Wembanyama‘s rookie season nears its end, his teammates are still learning how to unlock all the elements to his game, writes Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News. Wembanyama turned in another remarkable performance Sunday night, posting 33 points, 15 rebounds, seven blocks and seven assists while leading a late rally in an overtime win over Brooklyn. He put the Spurs ahead to stay on an alley-oop dunk with 38.5 seconds left to play and then preserved the victory by blocking a shot off the backboard.

Coach Gregg Popovich singled out guard Devin Vassell, who had eight assists, two of which resulted in Wembanyama slams. Because Vassell frequently initiates the offense, developing chemistry with Wembanyama will be vital for the team’s future.

“Every one of them is always aware of where he might be on the court and trying to figure out where he’s got to go, and be more efficient in getting it to him here or there,” Popovich said. “It’s an experience where they’ve got to be in those situations. But Devin’s going to have the ball a lot for us, so him understanding how to play with Victor is really important.”

There’s more on the Spurs:

  • San Antonio also got a huge performance from Keldon Johnson, who was back at full strength after dealing with a stomach virus earlier in the week, according to Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News. Johnson came off the bench to score 24 points in 34 minutes and contributed several clutch baskets. “He’s a big energy guy,” Popovich said. “He knocks down some threes here and there, takes big shots. He might not be shooting 40% on the year, but he takes shots that are important because of time and score and that kind of thing. And he’s an aggressive young man. He puts some meat on people.”
  • After Friday’s game against Denver, Popovich talked about his efforts to develop Blake Wesley into a defensive stopper, Orsborn adds in a separate story. The second-year guard has embraced the role and enjoys challenges like matching up with Jamal Murray. “The more you do it, the more consistent you will be,” Wesley said. “Me getting stops and then running out in transition, that’s my game. When I do that, I play better, I play free. It’s all about being aggressive.”
  • The NBA hasn’t selected the teams for its international games next season, but it’s expected that the Spurs and Pacers will play in Paris, according to Andrew Lopez of ESPN. Wembanyama is thrilled about the prospect of returning home. “I’m looking forward to it very much,” he said. “Obviously it’s going to be probably the game or the games that are going to be very important for me because of course it’s me coming back from where I come from, especially might be in my city or around the city. So it’s going to be very special. Also, it is going to allow me to see maybe my family in the middle of the season, which doesn’t happen often. So it’s great.”
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