The 2023 1st overall pick and budding superstar Victor Wembanyama makes his first trip to Toronto tonight.
The Frenchman has been a human highlight reel in his young career, leading the league in blocks per game with three while posting 20/10/3 and a steal per game to go along with it. However, his immediate impact hasn’t translated into team success as quickly as Spurs fans were likely hoping for.
Victor Wembanyama has the highest usage rate by a rookie in NBA history. pic.twitter.com/XrtNZippL1— Extra StatMuse (@extrastatmuse) February 12, 2024
The San Antonio Spurs sit at 10-43, good for last in the West and third last in the overall NBA. Wemby’s prowess so far despite the team around him has been impressive, and it seems like the team will be adding another top-5 prospect in the NBA Draft this spring. For now though, the Spurs are a young, heavily flawed team that is just looking to develop as players.
On the other hand, while the Toronto Raptors have clearly initiated a rebuild by the trades they’ve pulled off in the last two months, the Raptors seem to be aiming for a quick turnaround where they don’t have to bottom out as San Antonio has.
Having come so close to achieving that elusive pizza party to no avail yet again, the Raptors will look to get back in the win column tonight against one of the league’s bottom feeders. Their last matchup against the Spurs featured an unsettling start, but led to an incredible 20-point comeback in a game that was settled in overtime.
Slow starts were an issue early in the season for Toronto, but not so much as of late. Even against one of the league’s hottest teams in Cleveland in their last matchup, the Raptors mostly stayed with them for the first quarter.
The key to tonight’s matchup will be coming out hot and playing with the lead from the jump, while limiting Wembanyama’s scoring. Jakob Poeltl did a solid job guarding the young centre back in November, keeping Wembanyama to his average of 20 points and forcing him to take seven of his 16 shot attempts from deep rather than in the paint.
Keeping up with that gameplan and getting more involvement from the new guys in Agbaji and Olynyk should make for an exciting game, and hopefully, a Raptors win.
How to Watch:
TSN at 7:30 pm ET
Toronto: Immanuel Quickley, Gary Trent Jr., RJ Barrett, Scottie Barnes, Jakob Poeltl
San Antonio: Tre Jones, Devin Vassell, Julian Champagnie, Jeremy Sochan, Victor Wembanyama
Toronto: No players with designations
San Antonio: Charles Bassey (out - knee), Marcus Morris Sr. (out - not with team)