SHOCK: UNAFRAID TO BENCH HIM, HEAD COACH GREGG POPOVICH ISSUES AN ULTIMATUM TO VICTOR WEMBANYAMA TO CHANGE HIS STYLE OF PLAY OR RISK BEING DEMOTED TO THE G LEAGUE

A Victor Wembanyama move to the G League seems improbable to many, but not to the San Antonio Spurs rookie himself.

Following the team’s loss to the Atlanta Hawks, Wembanyama showcased his skills with 26 points, 13 rebounds, and five blocks in just 27 minutes in his team’s 109-99 defeat to the Atlanta Hawks.

Victor Wembanyama shows his hockey moves to Connor Bedard

“I like to be coached. I like to be threatened to be sent to the G League if I don’t play the right way,” Wembanyama said.

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“I like when there are consequences to my mistakes.”

After the game Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich pointed to the areas where Wembanyama has improved in his rookie season in the NBA.
“Probably in aggressiveness,” Popovich said.

“Rolling to the bucket and not being so concentrated on three-point shots, running the floor, being that target.

“And, of course, your team has leaned that they need to throw those passes. That’s not something we were used to. He’s really learned how to do that and understand that that sets the tone for everybody.

“Defensively, he’s becoming a really good rim protector. Obviously, he’s tall and long and he should be but he’s figuring out how to make that a definite a priority. Everybody else has learned how to handle that by playing around him.”

Popovich not afraid to bench Wembanyama

Victor Wembanyama Will Miss One Game of Blazers Back-to-Back - Blazer's Edge

Popovich, with the Spurs trailing by 35 points at halftime, benched Wembanyama and their regular starters in the second half.

The team’s poor shooting and conceding 69 points in the first half were disappointing after a positive performance since the new year.

“The message was strong and obvious by Pop,” Wembanyama explained.

“He said we’re being embarrassed. We had probably the worst first half we’ve had so far.

“That’s also why he changed his starting line up in the second half.

“He wanted to put players he could trust to give one hundred percent on the court and to show us, the remaining starters how we should’ve been starting the game.

“I appreciate also that he put Jeremy [Sochan] into the starting line up because he’s been bringing just that energy all game and he’s been that example tonight.”

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