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Kevin Durant, Suns Give Victor Wembanyama High Praise

Not only did the San Antonio Spurs beat the Phoenix Suns for the second-straight game, No. 1 overall pick Victor Wembanyama scorched Phoenix all night yesterday.

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The 7-foot-4 Wembanyama, who has been heralded as the next face of the NBA, had a career-high 38 points and 10 rebounds to lead San Antonio. The Spurs once led the Suns by 27 points in the second quarter in what was only Wembanyama’s fifth NBA game.

One player that the rookie sensation has been compared to because of his offensive game is Suns’ superstar Kevin Durant. However, Durant doesn’t agree with the comparisons between him and Wembanyama.

“I don’t see anybody else in his game,” Durant said postgame. “I know we both skinny, and I’m sure he said he watched me growing up, but he’s his own player. I’m sure he watched so many great players in the league and tried to emulate just about everybody, you can tell in his enthusiasm for the game. You could tell that through the TV and playing against him.

“He’s his own player, person, he’s gonna create his own lane that’s much different than anybody who’s ever played. And you can try to compare, but he’s gonna carve out his own lane.”

Devin Booker had a similar sentiment for Wembanyama.

“He’s an unbelievable talent,” Booker said. “I think everybody knows that and just trying to figure out what he is because we’ve never seen him before.”

The Suns Couldn’t Stop Victor Wembanyama

On Tuesday, Wembanyama had 18 points end eight rebounds in the Spurs’ 115-114 victory over the Suns. He really got rolling late in the game, and it carried over to yesterday.

Last night, the Suns seemingly had no answer for him. Even after tying the game at 116 late in the fourth quarter, Wembanyama spearheaded a 12-0 run by San Antonio to seal the game. He finished the fourth quarter with 10 points alone, scoring in double figures every quarter except the third. Wemby only totaled 34 minutes.

“His best game yet,” Suns’ coach Frank Vogel said of Wembanyama postgame. “He can beat you in a number of different ways, and we got to do a better job on him.”

Once Wembanyama started rolling, he was not only cashing pull-up threes, but the Spurs realized how easy it is to find him inside because of his height.

“He wasn’t scoring in the post, killing us in the post per se,” Durant said, “I mean, he’s just killing us from like: they toss it up to the middle of the paint, at 7-(foot)-5, he gonna just finish over the top of our smalls and catch-and-shoots. He’s tough, man. He’s tough with that size and that shooting touch. He didn’t do much handling the ball or one-on-one action or posting us up. He just kept the game simple, and that’s what great players do.”

Even though he only had two blocks defensively, Wembanyama was altering the Suns’ offense all night long and his effort really stopped Phoenix from getting its dynamic offense rolling until late in the game. He plays a roamer position on defense, meaning he guards the least capable offensive player and helps out on the ball on other players because of his length.

This led to the Suns making a change at halftime, starting Yuta Watanabe over Josh Okogie, who Wembanyama had been guarding both nights.

“Well, Wemby was just rolling around the basket,” Vogel said of the change. “We put Yuta out there to either make him pay or to draw him away from the basket.”

In the end, any adjustment the Suns made on Wembanyama on both sides of the ball did not end up mattering.

Phoenix will once again have its hands full with another dominant big man when the team takes on reigning MVP Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers on the road tomorrow.

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Brendan Mau is a senior writer covering the Phoenix Suns and more for Burn City Sports. You can follow him on X via @Brendan_Mau

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