NBA

Teams need to get to grips with Wembanyama, says Raptors coach Rajakovic

By Sports Desk February 13, 2024

Toronto Raptors coach Darko Rajakovic said teams must learn how to get to grips with Victor Wembanyama after the number one draft pick excelled in a win for the San Antonio Spurs.

The Spurs ran out 122-99 winners over the Raptors on Monday.

Wembanyama starred with a triple-double, entering the NBA record books in the process.

With a triple-double of 27 points, 14 rebounds, 10 blocks and five assists.

The 20-year-old became just the fifth player to record a triple-double that includes 25 points, 10 rebounds, 10 blocks and five assists since 1973-74, when blocks became an official statistic.

Wembanyama joined Hakeem Olajuwon, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, David Robinson and Ralph Sampson on that exclusive list, and Raptors boss Rajakovic believes teams will have to adapt to the rookie's stature in skill in the years to come.

"Wembanyama is the player who's going to play in this league for the next 15 years. We need to figure out how to attack and how to play against him," Rajakovic said.

"Definitely a player who's unique with his size and shot-blocking ability. We've got to do a much better job of figuring out how to play against that."

"I felt great today," Wembanyama said after becoming the fourth San Antonio player to record 10 blocks in a game. 

"Great rhythm, started the game strong. I guess it's just the NBA, you know. We've got ups and downs in terms of shape, and today was an up day."

"He did a little bit of everything," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said of Wembanyama, who leads the league in blocked shots, and is now the first rookie with 150 blocks, 150 assists and 50 steals in a season since Tim Duncan in 1997-98.

"Obviously he's an all-around, talented player. He's got a great feel for the game and it shows in a variety of ways, whether it's passing or making decisions, blocking shots."

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