Victor Wembanyama ought to be taught from his MSG nightmare debut

Victor Wembanyama strutted into his debut at The Backyard with all the arrogance of a 7-foot-4 MonStar and walked out as a 6-foot-16 shell of himself.

OK, these measure out to the identical factor, however it’s all about notion, and by the point Mitchell Robinson was performed with him, Wembanyama’s confidence had shrunk right down to dimension.

At a pregame media availability, Wembanyama gave an all-time quote about his inaugural Backyard expertise that was lampooned endlessly.

“Fairly unimaginable. It’s not as massive as I anticipated, however nonetheless the vibe is right here,” Wembanyama stated whereas wanting round.

I don’t understand how a lot smaller the world seems to be from the attitude of a Slenderman-sized human, however I can perceive the sentiment. After residing in New York lengthy sufficient, you develop into inured to how compact all the things is. Nevertheless, Massive Vic’s unintentional double entendre went viral.

Seems, all that Massive Vic Vitality wasn’t as massive as New York anticipated both. The Backyard is used to all-time performances. Jordan’s double-knickel and the night time Steph Curry grew to become a star are chief amongst them, however after watching Wembanyama rating 38 towards the Phoenix Suns, there was some hope that he may need one other basic in him. The duality of Knicks followers is that as tough as they’re on their very own workforce, they’ll additionally present an excessive amount of like to opposing gamers who give them a present.

Partly as a result of they view their hallowed enviornment because the Basketball Apollo and since they’re negging the opposing workforce. When Knicks followers serenade an opposing participant, it’s as a result of they really need them within the blue and orange.

What received misplaced within the pregame chaos for Massive Vic vs. the Knicks was Robinson and his nonchalant demeanor. Robinson is the anchor of your typical Tom Thibodeau protection and the right Wembanyama stopper. Or a minimum of that’s how he’ll be recognized for the foreseeable future.

“I’m going to play him identical to he’s a kind of like Kristaps Porzingis, sort of [players]’” Robinson defined with nice indifference. “Who else performs like that? Bol Bol? Simply received a combination them two collectively. I sort of received a really feel for the way it ought to go.”

From the soar, you knew Robinson was going to be a distinct sort of problem. For the primary time, Wembanyama misplaced the tip-off. It solely slalomed downhill from there. On the night time, Wembanyama scored 9 factors, however a majority of these even got here in rubbish time when the Spurs led by almost 30.

From the submit and under, Robinson personally annoyed Wembanyama for many of the night time, holding him to 0-for-6 taking pictures. At one level within the fourth quarter, Wembanyama slapped away Immanuel Quickley’s arm as the group started chanting “Overrated!” whereas Wembanyama shot free throws.

Chanting overrated at a 19-year-old nonetheless seems like a traumatizing expertise, however Wembanyama has been an expert lengthy sufficient to shake it off. The expectation is that this turns into a canon occasion for him. His rookie yr goes to be a trial by fireplace. Ups and downs galore. However finally, he’ll develop from the expertise, actually and metaphorically. Anytime he’s within the weight room, these chants of overrated can be echoing by means of his thoughts. Gregg Popovich ought to ship him some video of Tim Duncan giving the Knicks work within the 2000 Finals for inspiration. In just a few years, those self same Backyard denizens can be courting Wembanyama to swimsuit up for the Bockers.

Robinson was once the thin, 7-footer whom the bigger basketball viewers had by no means seen play. Now he’s the one placing rooks by means of Hell in a Cell on the defensive finish. Wembanyama’s true influence on the sport gained’t be felt for years, however you’ll be able to guess that when he does clear up the basketball equation and bulks up, Robinson and the Knicks can be among the first names in his little black e-book.

Observe DJ Dunson on X: @cerebralsportex

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