‘We’re thrilled that we’re able to bring Victor on board’: Gregg Popovich says of Spurs drafting Victor Wembanyama

Spurs head coach says Wembanyama is ‘a heck of a talent’

SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich wonders how the team has been fortunate enough to draft players like David Robinson, Tim Duncan and now Victor Wembanyama.

For the third time in team history, the San Antonio Spurs landed the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft, and on Thursday night, they drafted the French phenom and generational player.

“Well, certainly, there is enough that’s happened in this organization that makes one wonder why we’ve been the recipients of so much serendipity, for sure. And, of course, there’s no answer to that,” Popovich said to the media in San Antonio moments after the team made the selection. “So, we’re thrilled that we were able to bring Victor on board. He’s obviously a heck of a talent, a very mature young man. But just like with every draft pick, whether it’s the first pick or the 27th pick, or the 38th pick, we have a responsibility to each and every one to try to create an environment where they can reach the best success possible for them.”

Popovich said that he hasn’t gotten to know Wembanyama personally but knows that his parents have done “a hell of a job” helping him handle the pressure of being a great basketball player.

The Spurs coach knows that Wembanyama has high expectations for himself, and it’s all about letting him be himself and helping him transition to the NBA.

“We’ll be most interested in setting a framework and an environment where he’s comfortable, where he can be Victor. He’s not LeBron or Tim or Kobe or anybody else. He’s Victor, and that’s what we want him to be. So, we’ll do what we’ve done in the past with every player. We’ll observe. We’ll be there to counsel, to suggest, to answer questions, be available.

“But there’s nothing in stone. Or, we’re going to already say, ‘This is the way it’s going to be.’ People asked with Tim Duncan, ‘What do you think he needs? What are you going to do?’ So, I have no idea. We’re going to get him on the court, and we’re going to see him play, and we’ll go from there. But as far as being overly, you know, helicopter-like, that’s not a good way to start off,” Popovich said.

Popovich said that Wembanyama understands all the hype and attention he’s getting and feels that he won’t need a lot of advice on handling the fame and fortune coming his way.

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David Ibañez has been managing editor of KSAT.com since the website's launch in October 2000.