Friday, February 23, 2024

Victor Wembanyama’s historic triple-double by the numbers: Spurs star rookie blocks 10 shots vs. Raptors

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We all knew Victor Wembanyama would rewrite the NBA’s record books when he arrived in the NBA, but nobody could have predicted that it would come this quickly. On Monday, Wembanyama and his San Antonio Spurs faced the Toronto Raptors in a battle of sub-.500 teams that even the most ardent of NBA League Pass addicts could be forgiven for skipping. Those who did tune in, however, witnessed perhaps the best game of the Rookie of the Year favorite’s young career: 27 points, 14 rebounds, 10 blocks, five assists and two steals in San Antonio’s 122-99 victory.

His performance was an all-around masterpiece. Not only did he set a career-high in blocks, but he finished among his own top-10 outputs in points, rebounds and assists. It was just the second triple-double the No. 1 overall pick has ever posted. But it wasn’t just personal history that Wembanyama made here. It was league history. Let’s take a look at Wembanyama’s monster game by the numbers:

  • This was the 91st overall triple-double that included at least 10 blocks. The last was from Clint Capela in 2021.
  • Wembanyama is just the fourth rookie to record a triple-double that included blocks. Mark Eaton and Ralph Sampson both did so once in 1983. In 1990, another Spur, David Robinson, did so three times. That means that four out of the total six rookie triple-doubles with blocks were recorded by Spurs. 
  • Remember, Eaton and Sampson were both four-year college players, and Robinson spent two years in the Navy after his college career. That makes Wembanyama the youngest player in NBA history to record a triple-double with blocks by far. Wembanyama is currently 20 years and 40 days old. Sampson, at 23 years and 155 days, was the youngest to do so before him.
  • Let’s remove the triple-double requirement for a moment. Prior to Monday, only five rookies had ever recorded 10 blocks in a game: Josh Smith, Dikembe Mutombo, Harvey Catchings, Mark Eaton (once each) and Manute Bol (five times). Smith, still a teenager at the time, was the youngest of that group. Wembanyama is now in second place.
  • Wembanyama ties Robinson for second place on the scoring list among 10-block rookies. The two of them both reached 27. Sampson scored 28.
  • He is the fourth player in NBA history to record an overall stat line of at least 27 points, 14 rebounds, 10 blocks and five assists, joining Olajuwon, Sampson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
  • Wembanyama has now already crossed Tim Duncan’s career-high of nine blocks in a single game.

The more you dig into Wembanyama’s game, the more history you’ll find. What we’re seeing now is a historical anomaly. This isn’t just a future star in San Antonio. Victor Wembanyama is already becoming one of the most terrifying rookies in NBA history. With his unmatched combination of physical tools and skill, he has a chance to put up stat lines that will never be matched. If Monday was any indication, we might not even need to wait that long to see it.

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