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Victor Wembanyama's Bounce-Back Summer League Performance Means Nothing. At Age 19, His Career Is Still Over

Could've gone a million different directions with the headline here. Because let me tell y'all, I've gotten quite a bit of hate for my last Victor Wembanyama blog about his awful Summer League debut. 

Wemby's first outing in Vegas wasn't really the disaster everyone made it out to be. That didn't stop many, many folks on the Internet preemptively labeling him a bust. I noticed this ridiculous discourse, ran with the premise and create-a-player-maxed-out every possible overreactive angle to 99.

To clarify, yes, this piece was 100% satire.

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Our own beloved Pat among many other folks were very confused by all this:

I thought the headline alone made it self-evident that the piece was a takedown of take culture. "…Biggest Bust In NBA History After Disastrous SUMMER LEAGUE DEBUT." Too bad I blew the chance to call Wemby an arrogant fuck for wearing the No. 1 jersey as the No. 1 overall pick.

Hilariously proving my point about the entire premise of the blog, engagement skyrocketed, pageviews were high for a post-holiday weekend and the joke went over many a head. Come on, y'all. Literally the day after the 2022 NBA Draft, I wrote a lengthy [well-researched if I may say so myself] puff piece on Wemby's potential and served up a catchphrase that didn't catch on.

Many months later, I went as far to say that Wemby could be a top-10 NBA player as soon as his rookie season. 

So the notion that I'd bail on him after one subpar showing in the Summer League is laughable. But again, this is the type of take you need to have these days. Because people are fucking bored on the Internet. You can't grab somebody's attention with a, "LET'S NOT GET CARRIED AWAY" headline, or a measured/nuanced breakdown about Victor Wembanyama. You need to go for the gullet. Maximum knee-jerk, slapdash, full-blown bullshit analysis to hoodwink plebs into clicking.

Giphy Images.

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You know what's hilarious? Some of you out there won't read this. You'll read the headline only, get outraged, and race down to the comments to blast me. How do I know this? Because it's happened before.

Rarely have I found an opening to do a full-blown satire, but certain occasions present a golden opportunity. This one was WAY less subtle than that prior Wemby blog. The Lou Anarumo post was littered with advanced stat tweets, player testimony and insider reports about how much of a schematic genius he is. Then at the end, I literally said I was joking. Just look at the comments on that tweet. It's about a 50/50 split between those who got it and those who didn't.

LOOOOOOOORD PLEEEEEEEASE tell me that most of you will understand the irony in today's headline. "At Age 19, His Career Is Still Over."

I remember Dave saying something like it's more interesting around Barstool when people don't know if you're joking or not. I concur.

Giphy Images.

The reason I'm coming clean about this Wemby bit is because it can't carry on. He's already served up each extreme of the on-court performance spectrum. It's Summer League. Now it'll probably be back to simply celebrating his talents and highlight-reel plays until the 2023-24 campaign gets underway in earnest.

So are we good on Victor Wembanyama now? Can we chill? Maybe wait until he plays, you know, an actual NBA game to draw grand conclusions one way or another? Because as was clearly evident in last night's contest, dude can fucking ball.

Even better? Wemby's postgame remarks. Only going to touch on a few things. First: The fact that he can focus far more on basketball in the aftermath of the media circus that followed him throughout the pre-draft process:

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Can you possibly fathom what it's been like for Wemby? Privacy isn't a thing in the first place when you're 7-foot-5, never mind the most hyped draft prospect since LeBron James. Not everyone can be LeBron, strut onto an NBA court and drop a line of 25-6-9-4 in his first real NBA game. HAHAHA. That's right, I got in a LeBron mention. Maybe you haters should at least attempt to appreciate him as he enters his 21st season. It's getting pretty late. GIVE IT UP.

Second: For being so young and with how easy it'd be to be so conceited, it sure feels like Wemby has his priorities in line:

Wemby admitted his conditioning wasn't great in that 2-for-13 shooting effort to tip off Summer League. Some quality rest appears to have helped. I jokingly called him unprofessional for not being in elite shape right away. In spite of the aforementioned pre-draft circus. LOL.

What's crazy is, the NBA game actually suits Wemby's skill set more than playing overseas. As he explained here:

This only reinforces the oft-embedded video I've cited from JJ Redick's podcast. Therein, Luka Doncic discusses why he has such an easier time scoring at a high volume in the NBA:

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Not going to declare with 100% certainty that a similar fate awaits Wembanyama. If I had to make some grand proclamation, though, I'd lean that way. 

So yeah IDK. Say Victor Wembanyama is still going to be a bust. Parade around and claim he'll be a top-three player of all-time. Who really gives a fuck? None of it matters until the real, non-exhibition games begin.

And even then, we won't know for a number of years if Wemby is for real or not. The Spurs' roster is a fucking disaster. Their organizational philosophies are stuck in 2014. If Wemby can elevate that piss-poor 3-point firing squad to mere play-in contender status, it'll be a monumental achievement.

When it comes to making career-spanning judgments about Victor Wembanyama in the Vegas Fucking Summer League, let's all take a deeeeeeeeeeep breath if at all possible. Let's see if we can BEAR a delayed-gratification response to the overwhelming stimulus of this basketball prodigy exploding onto our screens. That'd be refreshing, wouldn't it?

Twitter @MattFitz_gerald/TikTok