Victor Wembanyama set for matchup Friday against fellow 7-foot Frenchman

Wemby, Spurs to face elite defender Rudy Gobert and Minnesota Timberwolves

New York Knicks' Mitchell Robinson, left, and San Antonio Spurs' Victor Wembanyama fight for position during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2023, in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) (Seth Wenig, Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

SAN ANTONIO – Vive la France!

That’s the case when the Minnesota Timberwolves face off against the San Antonio Spurs at the Frost Bank Center on Friday night.

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The game will feature two of the best 7-footers in the league, both of whom are from France and who’ll likely be Olympic teammates next summer at the Paris games.

The Spurs obviously have rookie sensation Victor Wembanyama, who is averaging 18.8 points per game in his rookie season.

But Minnesota also has an elite big man from France in Rudy Gobert, who is a three-time defending NBA Defensive Player of the Year.

Gobert is a big reason why the Timberwolves have a 5-2 record and enter the game No. 1 in the NBA in points allowed, at 101.1 points per contest.

Minnesota Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert, center, dunks over San Antonio Spurs forward Julian Champagnie (30) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, April 8, 2023, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Stephen Spillman) (Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

The 7-foot-1 Gobert uses his smarts, quickness and wingspan to thwart pick-and-roll plays opponents try to run. He leads the NBA in rebounding at 13.6 rebounds per game, and is sixth in the league in block shots at just over two per game.

The Spurs are coming off a disappointing performance against the New York Knicks in Madison Square Garden, as San Antonio fell 126-105 on Wednesday night.

The 7-foot-3 Wemby missed his first seven shots and, according to the Associated Press, had more air balls (2) than field goals through the first three quarters. He finished with 14 points on 4-14 shooting, extending his double-figures point streak by scoring eight points in the fourth.

Playing at home should add to the comfort level of Wembanyama and the Spurs, but make no mistake, if Wembanyama produces good point totals against Minnesota, he definitely will have earned it.

Tipoff against the Timberwolves is set for 7 p.m. Following the Minnesota game, the Spurs next play on Sunday at home versus the Miami Heat (4-4).


About the Authors:

Keith is a member of Graham Media Group's Digital Content Team, which produces content for all the company's news websites.

Ben Spicer is a digital journalist who works the early morning shift for KSAT.