The expectations for French sensation Victor Wembanyama are nearly as outsized as his 8-foot wingspan. We block out the noise and examine how Wemby will fare in his rookie season.
The San Antonio Spurs haven’t started pumping out the Victor Wembanyama jerseys just yet. But if you’re looking to bet on his production during his first season in the NBA, some adventurous online operators are offering odds on Wembanyama’s points, rebounds, and block shots for the 2023-24 season.
Wembanyama is a -20,000 front runner to be selected first overall by the Spurs in the 2023 NBA Draft on June 22 – a 99.5% chance according to those NBA Draft odds. And with that roster spot in San Antonio all but guaranteed, basketball bettors can start looking ahead to Wembanyama’s production in the pros.
According to those online markets, the 7-foot-3 Frenchman has a projected average points per game total of 17.5 (over -140) with his rebound total at 8.5 boards (Over -130) along with an average blocks output of 2.5 (Under -140).
Let’s take a deeper dive into those player props and give some NBA picks for Wembanyama’s inaugural NBA season.
|Points per game average||Odds|
Odds as of May 25, 2023.
Online oddsmakers have Wembanyama’s season-long scoring average pegged for 17.5 points O/U with the Over juiced to -140.
He posted 21.6 points per game with Metropolitans 92 of the LNB Pro A league in France and will find himself at the top of the pecking order when he officially joins a young San Antonio squad. Keldon Johnson was the only member of the Spurs to average 20 or more points in 2022-23.
Despite their poor record this past season, the Spurs have shown they can put up points. San Antonio averaged almost 115 points per game after the All-Star break and played one of the quicker tempos in the league, with the pace rating of 102.07 (second fastest).
Wembanyama’s versatility allows him to score points from all over the place, either working around the rim or stretching the defense with his touch from outside. He won’t draw the same attention from opposing defenses as he did in France, where he routinely sliced up double and triple-teams. But bigger and more athletic NBA foes will want to take their shot at the presumptive No. 1 overall pick.
#NBADraft prospect Victor Wembanyama put up 21 PTS and 14 REB in Game 2 against Cholet ???? pic.twitter.com/SunT9kj9hS
— NBA (@NBA) May 23, 2023
Perhaps the biggest thing working against Wembanyama’s Over 17.5 points per game is head coach Gregg Popovich, who isn’t as welcoming to rookies in his rotations and needs those players to prove themselves before earning more minutes. However, with the Spurs’ season ticket sales spiking following the team winning the draft lottery, Pop could be under pressure to play the heaviest-hyped player to hit the pros since LeBron James.
And while we’re on the comparison, James averaged 20.9 points in his first year in the NBA while fellow superstar Kevin Durant, who seems to draw the most comparisons to Wembanyama, put up 20.3 ppg in his first season in Seattle.
This year’s Rookie of the Year winner, Paolo Banchero, scored 19.96 points an outing in Orlando. The highest scoring rookie season of the past 14 years was Blake Griffin’s 22.5 points per game in 2010-11, which ranks 22nd among the all-time rookie scoring leaders.
Pick: Over 17.5 points (-140)
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|Rebounds per game average||Odds|
Odds as of May 25, 2023.
His height helps with rebounding but his frail frame may get pushed around under the basket. While Wembanyama reportedly tips the scale at 230 pounds, the 19-year-old will be battling some grown-ass men on the glass each and every night.
Undrafted two-way prospect Kenneth Lofton versus “best prospect ever” 1st pick Victor Wembanyama pic.twitter.com/DsIKoHSVGh
— Cole (@CREAMYCOLE_) May 17, 2023
Online books have Wembanyama’s rebounding total at 8.5 per game with the Over juiced to -130. He pulled down 10.4 boards a night in the French pro league last season. If we use this past season as a scale, 8.5 rebounds a night would have the rookie center coming in around 30th in the league in boards per outing – on par with guys like Jayson Tatum, Lauri Markkanen, Luka Doncic, and Kristaps Porzingis. Detroit Pistons first-year forward Jalen Duran topped all rookies with 8.9 rebounds per game this past season (21st in the NBA) and Griffin’s 12.1 rebounding average in 2020-11 was the highest we’ve seen from a rookie since Shaquille O’Neal in 1992-93.
Wembanyama won’t necessarily be parked around the paint on every possession nor does his team need him to be everything all at once like in France. The Spurs also play in a big, bad Southwest Division which features clubs like Houston (1st), New Orleans (5th), and Memphis (8th), who all sit at, or near, the top of rebound rate metrics. This one will be close but there’s no shame in averaging 8.3 rebounds a night. Just ask LeBron.
Pick: Under 8.5 Rebounds (-110)
|Blocks per game average||Odds|
Odds as of May 25, 2023.
Here’s where it gets fun. Wembanyama’s 7-foot-3 frame and 8-foot wingspan sent 3.1 average shots packing per game in France last season. Online oddsmakers have the Over 2.5 blocks set at EVEN money.
Victor Wembanyama with a block then a side-step 3. This dude is unfair. pic.twitter.com/2jNFXrZnOk
— Kevin O’Connor (@KevinOConnorNBA) December 17, 2022
San Antonio plays in the Southwest Division, which is also home to Memphis, Houston and New Orleans – all of which ranked Top 9 in average points in the paint this season. Other high-yield interior offenses include Western Conference foes Oklahoma City, Denver, the Los Angeles Lakers, Minnesota, and Utah.
Given the Spurs’ schedule, Wembanyama will have his chances to swat more than two and half would-be shots away.
If we go to the NBA blocks leaders in 2022-23, we find guys like Jaren Jackson Jr. (3.0) and rookie Walker Kessler (2.3) along with Anthony Davis (2.0), who routinely were attacked at the rim in an aggressive West.
Former Spurs No. 1 overall picks David Robinson and Tim Duncan set a high bar in their first season in San Antonio, with Duncan averaging exactly 2.5 blocks and the Admiral averaging 3.9 per contest – the second most for a rookie behind Manute Bol’s 5.0 back in 1985-86.
The league isn’t as interior-based as it once was, but given the landscape and the style of play from teams the Spurs will routinely face in 2023-24, there is a good chance Wembanyama can surpass the 2.5-block total in his first year. The Spurs are dreadful defensively, but having a shot blocker bailing them out helps the team’s perimeter defense cheat a bit.
Pick: Over 2.5 Blocks (+100)
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