The Associated Press (AP) reports that Wimpanyama showed some fire at his second show in Las Vegas.
The No. 1 pick in this year’s draft looked more like him in his second game of the Summer League on Sunday. He finished with 27 points and 12 rebounds, but the Spurs lost 85-80 to the Portland Trail Blazers.
“I was just going,” Wimpanyama said.
He was 9 of 14 on the ground, 7 of 12 from the line, blocked three shots and led a comeback as the Spurs cut a 19-point deficit to one, but never got the lead.
“I hope we win the match,” Wimpanyama said. “I think I could have done more… I have to keep learning.”
There were also moments that reminded everyone he’s still in the NBA, that he fumbled his 3rd-pointer in two games and got carried off his place several times on rebounding chances, but it was clearly more of a Wemby-like game than it was. . The case made its first appearance on Friday night.
He was just 2-for-13 from the field in San Antonio Vegas’ opening win over Charlotte; He shot much better in Game 2. He missed his first shot, then missed a pair of free throws before hooking on an 18-foot jumper off the right wing for his first score, then started running from there.
“It’s normal that every game gets better,” Wimpanyama said.
There were highlights. He made a rebound to himself with his left hand, essentially slamming the ball himself to dunk it over Portland’s Jabari Walker. It seemed to activate him. Moments later, after blocking a shot at one end, he ran to the ground, caught a pass from Julien Champagne and threw another dunk over the Blazers’ Justin Minaya.
He went looking for contact in the third quarter as well; After missing from below, he went across the lane to get his stride and scored off the glass with his left hand while fouling, which drew more screams from the crowd who were more or less reacting to everything he did.
Sunday was still a Summer League sell-out, sold out all three days so far, a first in Vegas and obviously part of the Wemby effect, but the Wembanyama game scene wasn’t as overdone as it was on First Friday.
The lower bowl was filled in at Thomas and Mack’s center; The upper bowl had some rows towards the top which were empty, which was not the case on Friday.
“I think the best show for the fans is to win,” Wimpanyama said.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, whose new five-year contract with the team to remain coach and chairman, was announced on Saturday, in the stands for the second consecutive game. Jerry West was watching again, too, just as he was Friday in his regular starting seat, and his Spurs teammates Keldon Johnson and Jeremy Suchan were among the NBA players well seated for the show.
The NBA decided the Spurs would be the first pick against the No. 3 pick, just like their debut at Wimpanyama pitted them against second seed Brandon Miller on Friday. But the third pick in the draft, Portland’s Scott Henderson who faced Wimpanyama twice last year near Las Vegas in the exhibitions, missed the game with a shoulder injury he suffered in their summer opener.
Spurs summer coach Matt Nielsen said he’s not sure if Wimpanyama will continue to play in Vegas. If this is the end of Wembanyama’s tenure in Vegas, it will continue the trend of the #1 picks after their summer residency ends early.
Paolo Panchero played two games for Orlando in 2022, Kid Cunningham played three games with Detroit in 2021, and Zion Williamson played in one game just nine minutes, right, for New Orleans in 2019 before his stay was cut short by injury, and DeAndre Ayton entered. Four games with Phoenix in 2018. There was no Summer League in 2020 due to the pandemic.
Wimpanyama said he will talk to Popovich and work out the rest of the summer whether to continue playing in Vegas, as well as plan a workout and vacation leading up to the start of training camp this fall.
“I am ready to make any sacrifices for the team,” Wimpanyama said.
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