“O-ver-rated” | Knicks Fans Serenade Rookie Victor Wembanyama As Team Got Beaten Down, Are They Right?

The New York Knicks beat down the San Antonio Spurs 125-106 on Wednesday night, spoiling Spurs’ rookie Victor Wembanyama‘s Madison Square Garden debut. The rookie had a rough night as the Knicks played him physical and the Knicks faithful let him here it, chanting “O-ver-rated, O-ver-rated.” Are they right?

MSG Debut Not One For The Highlight Reel

Wemby’s MSG debut was certainly not one for the highlight reel. He finished with 14 points, nine rebounds, one block and three turnovers in 30 minutes. Though he did shoot it better in the second half.

He is going to have many nights like this as a rookie. He is playing in the best basketball league in the world, and there is NBA game action of him that’s made the rounds now. Teams have an idea of what he likes to do, strengths and weaknesses.

To expect him to show up as a rookie, eight games into his NBA career against a physical Knicks team and dominate was not realistic.

No, Knicks fans, it had nothing to do with the mystique or aura of MSG. It’s a wonderful arena steeped in history and tradition, but that and the Knicks crowd had nothing to do with his performance.

“We did have a rough start, collectively,” Wemby said postgame. “I think no matter how many times I’ll play here, it will always be special.”

Through eight games he’s averaging 18 points, eight rebounds and two blocks per game. But like most rookies, he’s grading out as a net negative in advanced stats. That is to say he is not contributing to winning possessions. To be fair, neither is the entire team.

The Spurs Are Not Good Right Now

The Spurs are 3-5 and ranked last in aNET rating, 24th in aORTG and last in aDRTG.

The closest the team has to a winning player is Doug McDermott, who is a net neutral, according to BPM, and he is a 32-year-old that comes off the bench and plays about 17 minutes per game.

Meanwhile, the player who will be battling Wemby for Rookie of the Year honors, Chet Holmgren, plays for an Oklahoma City Thunder that’s 15th in aNET rating, ninth in aORTG, and 20th in aDRTG.

Holmgren shares the starting lineup with an All-NBA guard in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and two net positive players in Jalen Williams and Luguentz Dort.

The Spurs are a bad team and when they’re good and ready to win in a couple years, the only player for sure we know will be a part of the team is Wemby. Devin Vassell has a shot, given the extension he received, five years at $135 million. And maybe Keldon Johnson.

For comparison, Kevin Durant averaged 20 points, four rebounds and two assists per game and was also a net negative as a rookie for the 20-62 Seattle SuperSonics.

LeBron James was a net neutral player as a rookie who averaged 20 points, five rebounds, and six assists per game for the 35-47 Cleveland Cavaliers.

Both those players turned out OK.

This isn’t to say Wemby will have a career as good as KD’s or a GOAT career like Bron. But he has the talent and skillset that suggests it’s possible.

Failure is baked into the process of becoming elite at anything, never mind an all-time great.

Knicks fans had their fun, got the win and got to chant overrated. He’s far from that.

The Knicks have never had anyone in their franchise history with the upside of Wemby. The rest of the league should get their licks in now, because in the next two years or so he’ll be an ascending superstar.

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