Victor Wembanyama takes the field without Popovich’s permission: ‘We still could have won’

Victor Wembaynama is definitely one of the very few happy notes of the 2023-24 San Antonio Spurs. The Frenchman is a candidate for Rookie of the Year and is scoring 18.9 points on average with 10.2 rebounds.

In the last game against Memphis, Wemby scored 20 points in 26′, a reduced minuteage imposed by the coaching staff. In fact, the Spurs’ long player played at most 24′ in the 4 games following the minor ankle injury that had not allowed him to play against Dallas in December. Even against the Grizzlies the minutes should have been 24, but the decision to self-replace was Wembanyama himself, disobeying Gregg Popovich.

“I didn’t have permission to go back in, but I went back in anyway. I thought we could still win. The coach let me out right after that.” commented the Frenchman after the game. Wembanyama returned to the court with 1.46 minutes left in the game with the Spurs at -11 (after also being at -18). However, Popovich ousted him from the game at the first opportunity with 1.10 minutes to play. In the end San Antonio lost 106-98, slipping to 5-28 on the season.

Francesco Manzi
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