Joel Embiid is sending a message to Victor Wembanyama, especially after the rookie from the San Antonio Spurs has had ups and downs in the season. However, Wembanyama is averaging 18.5 points and 10.7 rebounds per game, and more importantly, he is recording three blocks per night and making a defensive impact in games. Gregg Popovich has placed him in various roles – in the paint, picking the ball from the high post, bringing up the ball, matching up against small forwards – and allowing him to find his comfort zones and where he wants to be on the court. Joel Embiid believes that Wembanyama needs to find his identity in the NBA. The Frenchman has the potential to become one of the best in the league, but he needs to focus on a position and playing style. Embiid’s description of Wembanyama’s season and his path is particularly accurate and enlightening.
Embiid mentions that there is a lot of hype surrounding Wembanyama, and he feels that the rookie is trying to live up to those expectations. Embiid suggests that Wembanyama needs to figure out where he wants to play and what position he wants to be in. It’s not about being a point guard or a center, but about what he wants to become. He uses the example of Kevin Durant and himself, emphasizing that Wembanyama needs to find his own style rather than trying to combine everything. He also mentions that Wembanyama’s game sometimes seems forced, and that he should utilize his height more effectively. Embiid acknowledges that he is still learning as well and that everyone faces similar challenges.
Wembanyama has a diverse skill set and can do a little bit of everything, but excelling in all areas without being elite in one style may not lead to the level of success he desires in the NBA. He needs to choose who he wants to be as a player and be open to adapting to different styles when necessary. It is clear from watching Wembanyama play that he will likely become physically stronger over time, which was already anticipated when he entered the league. Developing his strength is a process that requires dedication, and Wembanyama seems to understand this.
Finding a true identity on the court is a crucial part of Wembanyama’s growth. It doesn’t mean he has to be like Durant or Embiid – he can be his own unique version – but that identity is still taking shape and needs to solidify. This first season in San Antonio is about growth rather than wins. It’s about trusting the team’s process and improving. Wembanyama is doing that, even though he may be inconsistent at times. This season is about learning, which Joel Embiid seems to understand better than anyone.
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