Jalen Brunson heaps praise on Victor Wembanyama after rookie spoils 61-point outing

After his 61 points went to waste in a loss, Jalen Brunson had a lot of praise for Victor Wembanyama.

New York Knicks v San Antonio Spurs
New York Knicks v San Antonio Spurs / Ronald Cortes/GettyImages

As half of the league gets ready for the playoffs, teams like the San Antonio Spurs are heading into an offseason after likely falling short of 25 wins. But even with that, the Spurs have hope.

Victor Wembanyama has shown MVP and All-NBA potential throughout his rookie season, and did so again on Friday night in a win over the New York Knicks, spoiling a 61-point performance from Jalen Brunson with his own big-time performance.

After the win, Josh Paredes of FanSided reported on Brunson's reaction to Wembanyama and the outcome as the Knicks guard said, "He’s gonna be one of the greatest players this game has seen".

The Spurs outlasted the Knicks in overtime, 130-126, after Brunson's monster night. But Wembanyama tried his best to match it with a career-high 40 points to go with 20 rebounds, seven assists, two steals and one block. Even amid San Antonio's rough season, the rookie has looked on track to be a potential multi-time MVP.

Overall in his rookie season, Brunson's assessment of Wembanyama looks apt. The Frenchman is averaging 21 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks per game as a rookie and with little help. And that could be the next step to his development.

Victor Wembanyama is as promised, now the Spurs need to build around him

As the Spurs build around Wembanyama, San Antonio already has one long-term building block alongside the rookie. Devin Vassell is a veteran who can fit in a Jrue Holiday role and could develop into the second All-NBA-caliber presence that the Spurs will likely need. Still among their holes, finding a good ball-handler is among their biggest needs.

The Spurs have around $20 million in cap space in the 2024 offseason. A starter can be signed with that kind of money and, more importantly, San Antonio will also add a Top 10 pick of their own and potentially another with the Raptors pick owed to them that's Top 6-protected.

There is also a need, in addition to a floor general and facilitating point guard, for wing depth and shooting.

San Antonio has multiple avenues to explore this offseason, including potentially star hunting via trade with their draft picks and potential contracts to move. What the Spurs do this offseason isn't concrete, but Wembanyama has made sure that it'll all be with building around him in mind, something Brunson would agree with after Friday night.

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