How Victor Wembanyama in San Antonio impacts OKC Thunder

Victor Wembanyama #1 of Boulogne-Levallois Metropolitans 92 (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Victor Wembanyama #1 of Boulogne-Levallois Metropolitans 92 (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /

The San Antonio Spurs have received extraordinary NBA Draft Lottery Luck again to land a generational big man, Victor Wembanyama. This time, the Spurs land the best prospect this side of LeBron James, the likes of which we have never seen as a 7’3+ playmaking big man. So how does this impact the OKC Thunder?

A year ago, the Oklahoma City Thunder earned Lottery luck by climbing into the 2nd overall slot and eventually selecting a 7’0 foot unicorn big man of their own in Chet Holmgren. But, unfortunately, the Gonzaga product suffered a Lisfranc Fracture in August at a pro-am event in Seattle. That held him out for an entire season, and he is now poised to debut in the same season as Victor Wembanyama.

Victor Wembanyama landing with the San Antonio Spurs could spark the next great NBA Rivalry with OKC Thunder big man Chet Holmgren.

Chet Holmgren is a year removed from being the highly touted seven-footer that shot 40 percent from beyond the arc in college, does extremely rare things with the ball in his hands at this size, and offers absurd rim protection with his shot-blocking ability. Though we never saw it in the NBA regular season, Holmgren dominated the Summer League, and clips of him impressing against other NBA stars allowed the hype train to gain a full head of steam. There is a new prized big in town and the Western Conference.

If Victor Wembanyama is who we think he is and Chet Holmgren is who we think he is after recovering from injury, these two will be battling it out 3-4 times a year in the Western Conference. Not to mention possible playoff matchups between the conference foes. The media, fans, and players themselves will begin to hype up these matchups of two similarly skilled players with similar big-man play styles.

If they each hit their ceiling, we have yet to see bigs do what these two can. With that, the battles could become personal and spark a no-love-lost rivalry with each meeting. I would not be shocked if the league schedule makers revealed a Spurs vs. Thunder season opener on national television.

While Wembanyama could present an interesting obstacle in the way of the champion path in the Western Conference, the more interesting way this all plays out is a classic clash between two players at the same position, in the same conference, and vying for the same things.

The 2023-24 NBA Rookie of the Year race could be legendary. Let’s see how this matchup unfolds for years after San Antonio owns the NBA’s biggest prize this offseason, Victor Wembanyama.

OKC Thunder lands at 12 after the NBA Draft Lottery. dark. Next