Home » Victor Wembanyama should make an All-NBA Team: Spurs rookie is already a top-15 player in the league | Sporting News United Kingdom

Victor Wembanyama should make an All-NBA Team: Spurs rookie is already a top-15 player in the league | Sporting News United Kingdom

NBA players aren’t supposed to be this good from the jump, but Victor Wembanyama has already shown that he is not your typical rookie.

Wemby has been even more impactful than his impressive 20.7 points, 10.4 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 3.5 blocks per game would indicate. NBA veterans who have played against him have shown him a ton of respect. Draymond Green called him one of the 20 best players in the league already. Kyrie Irving said that he was a legitimate DPOY candidate. LeBron James noted that “he doesn’t have a ceiling.” 

Let’s go a step further: Wembanyama is already a top 15 player in the game.

The stats, film and narrative all point to the same conclusion. The Spurs rookie should make one of the 15 prestigious All-NBA spots, particularly because: 1) All-NBA is going positionless this season and 2) the new 65 minimum games played requirement knocks off some of his competition, such as Joel Embiid. 

Here’s why Wembanyama has been a top 15 guy this year. 

MORE: Updated list of stars ineligible for MVP, All-NBA honors due to 65-game rule

Why Victor Wembanyama should make an All-NBA Team

Wemby’s stats are otherworldly

Wemby is one of six guys averaging over 20 points and 10 rebounds per game. He’s leading the league in blocks per game. But what makes his stats so impressive is how well-rounded he is in all of them.

Wembanyama has all of the great qualities of both a dominant big man and an elite guard. His 38.8 percent pull-up shooting from 3 is unheard of for a player of his size. He’s also a fantastic lob threat, ranking No. 8 in total dunks this year.

He’s made up for the fact that the Spurs can’t get him the ball by using his incredible handle to get his shots off by himself. 

Wembanyama is the first player since Shaq back in 2000 to average at least 20 points, 10 rebounds, three assists and three blocks per game. And he’s doing it in almost 11 fewer minutes per game than Shaq did. All six of the other players that ever hit those marks are no-brainer Hall of Famers. If he stays healthy, Wembanyama will join them one day.

In the NBA, achieving a 5×5 — where a player racks up at least five points, five rebounds, five assists, five steals and five blocks in a single game — is a monumental rarity. These all-around performances are even less frequent (only 22 in history) than a pitcher throwing a perfect game in Major League Baseball (24 times). For Wembanyama, it took a whopping 51 games into his career to get his first one. 

There’s no stopping Wembanyama because there are simply too many strengths to try and take away. 

MORE: How Victor Wembanyama escapes pressure of being NBA’s next superstar

Wemby is doing things that nobody else is

Wemby’s stats fly off the page. The visuals of him acquiring them are on another level. 

Have you ever seen a 7-footer Shammgod like this?

Or put Giannis Antetokounmpo, a Defensive Player of the Year and five-time All-Defensive forward, on skates? 

Wemby has broken the game in so many different ways this year. He’s made a one-legged runner 3, thrown an alley-oop to himself off the backboard, nutmegged opponents with stellar passes and dunked it off a finger roll while taking only one dribble past halfcourt. His games are must-see because there’s a good chance he’ll do something you never dreamed possible before. 

MORE: These Victor Wembanyama plays prove he’s unlike anything the NBA has ever seen

When all is said and done, Wembanyama is going to have the best highlight package of anyone in the league. All-NBA is about rewarding the special players in the game, and he is one of one. 

Wemby shouldn’t be blamed for the Spurs being terrible

There are two main arguments against Wembanyama making an All-NBA team. First, he’s only playing 29.1 minutes per game. Second, the Spurs are the third-worst team in the league. Neither of these factors are under his control. 

When Wembanyama has been on the floor, the Spurs have played like a respectable 33-win team based on their -3.7 net rating. When he’s been off the floor, they’ve had a putrid -11.5 net rating, translating to about 15 wins. 

The numbers look even rosier when Wembanyama has played with a real point guard. The Spurs started the year disastrously, putting forward Jeremy Sochan in that role. Even having a backup-level guard in Tre Jones has given enough for Wembanyama to work with. When those two have been on the floor together, the Spurs have posted a +4.9 net rating, playing like a 52-win team. 

MORE: Victor Wembanyama is having the second-best rookie season of all time

Now let’s address the minutes criticism. Wembanyama has wanted to play more. He’s even tried surreptitiously checking himself into a game when head coach Gregg Popovich wasn’t looking. His average minutes are going to be the third-lowest of any player to win Rookie of the Year, of which he is a shoo-in for. The Spurs are being overly cautious, and he has zero control over it. 

The Spurs starting a fringe NBA player in Zach Collins or signing 10 guys who won’t be in the league much longer should not be the reason why Wembanyama is snubbed. If you swapped him with the starting center on any of the other playoff teams minus Denver, then this would be a no-brainer decision.

Wemby has been transcendent this season. He should get the nod.