Spurs No. 1 overall pick Victor Wembanyama missed his first regular season game on Friday night against the Pelicans. The 7’4″ big man has been dealing with right hip tightness and considers himself “day-to-day,” writes Andrew Lopez of ESPN.
Friday was the second of back-to-back games for San Antonio, which lost to the Hawks on Thursday night. Wembanyama was questionable for that contest, but wound up playing, Lopez notes.
In 18 games (30.0 minutes) in 2023/24, the 19-year-old has put up very impressive counting stats of 19.3 points, 9.7 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.3 steals and a league-leading 2.7 blocks per night, though like many rookies he has struggled at times with turnovers (3.5) and scoring efficiency (.437/.271/.829 shooting line).
Here are a few more notes on the Spurs, who have lost 13 straight games entering Friday’s contest:
- Devin Vassell hasn’t gotten much recognition this season because San Antonio is just 3-15, last place in the Western Conference. But the fourth-year wing is shooting career highs of 58.0% on twos and 41.9% on threes, and the spacing and attention he draws are essential to the team’s offense, according to Kelly Iko of The Athletic, who says Vassell “increasingly looks like the perfect complementary piece to Wembanyama.”
- Vassell has missed five games this season due to an adductor injury, causing the Spurs to place him on a minutes restriction and bring him off the bench of late. He was a reserve again on Friday night, but head coach Gregg Popovich said Vassell will return to the starting lineup in the near future, tweets Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News.
- Transitioning to point guard after playing power forward as a rookie last season has been a bumpy adjustment for Jeremy Sochan, but he had his best game of the season on Thursday, McDonald writes for The Express-News (subscriber link). The 20-year-old had a career-high 33 points (on 12-of-14 shooting) while also contributing eight rebounds, six assists and a steal. “It’s a process,” Sochan said. “But as every day goes on, it’s getting easier. I’ve just going to keep going. And if I have the trust of my coaches and my teammates, that’s the most important thing.”