After an awe-inspiring final preseason game against the Golden State Warriors, French phenom Victor Wembanyama made a quieter start to his first regular season appearance against the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday night.
Plagued by foul trouble throughout the contest, the number one overall pick was subdued until the final period where he exploded for nine of his 15 points despite the San Antonio Spurs 126-119 loss.
In providing glowing praise for Victor Wembanyama, did former Golden State Warriors General Manager Bob Myers throw shade at former franchise big men?
Fans and analysts have been running out of superlatives for the 7’4″ big man, with Wembanyama having recorded five blocks in 20 minutes against the Warriors last Friday. But for all the physical tools the Frenchman possesses, former Golden State General Manager Bob Myers was full of praise for Wembanyama’s sheer love of the game.
"“Most big guys don’t love playing basketball. They play because they’re big. He loves basketball”, Myers said on ESPN’s First Take on Thursday. “You know how many seven-footers, they just play because they’re seven-feet tall — I’d rather be doing this over here, but I’m seven foot tall and I make a lot of money. This guy loves basketball.”"
Was Myers comments a slight dig at recent Warrior big men? Ever since three-time NBA champion Kevon Looney was drafted in 2015, Golden State’s track record with young centers has been nothing short of horrific.
Myers drafted Damian Jones with a first-round pick in 2016, before acquiring Jordan Bell with a second-round pick the following year. Alen Smailagic was another former big man who failed to pan out, and most notably James Wiseman played just 60 games for the franchise after being taken with the second overall pick in 2020.
Why did the quartet fail to work out at the Warriors? While there may have been much more pre-eminent reasons, you can’t help but feel a lack of genuine love for the game may be a slight aspect to it.
Smailagic and Bell have been out of the league for a significant period, Jones has been a limited role player for multiple different teams, and Wiseman is currently out of the Detroit Pistons rotation after Myers moved him at last season’s trade deadline.